Remember the horror of locker room talk? Remember the endless panels and discussions about whether it exists? Well, the Women in The World Summit decided to partake in some crude speech about Fox News host Tucker Carlson over his heated interview with Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca. Duca wrote an op-ed that said Trump was “gaslighting America” last December. In short, Duca wrote that Trump’s twisting of the truth destabilizes American government. It was also around the same time that Ivanka Trump was accosted by unhinged liberals on an airplane.
Of course, Carlson invited her on his show for an interview, where depending on the source either ended with Carlson smacking down Duca or Duca holding her own and emerging victorious in the face of a right wing bully. Regardless, it was brought up during the summit’s “Designing Disruption” panel.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg, actress Tracee Ellis Ross, Jo Ann Jenkins CEO of AARP, Jeannine Sargent, President of Innovation and New Ventures at Flex, and Teen Vogue’s Elaine Welteroth joined moderator and author Kathy Lette, where the women decided to channel some locker room talk of their own, hitting Carlson below the belt—literally. Lette called the Fox News host “f*cker” instead of Tucker because, well—he’s not a liberal.
“It’s only the vengeance of the white man with a small penis,” said von Furstenberg.
Ellis Ross was shocked at Carlson’s parting shot at Duca: “You should stick to the thigh-high boots. You’re better at that.” Welteroth said this is a prime example of mansplaining and belittling.
“When it comes to f*cker, we’re definitely making small talk,” added Lette.
And what would you call that remark about Carlson? I like Tucker Carlson's show, which is doing tremendously well, but instead of cheap shots—let’s get into what happened between Duca and Carlson. Welteroth is right; Duca didn’t cower. She invoked her right to stand her ground. Carlson seemed to not understand that it’s a perfectly fine to think that Ivanka Trump is complicit (remember, thinking through the lens of a liberal) in aiding “the most anti-woman candidate this country has seen in decades.” Those are Duca’s words not mine. It’s an opinion I really don’t agree with, but it’s not outside the mainstream. Many liberals see Trump as anti-woman, despite him winning 52 percent of white women in the 2016 election. That’s probably a sign that Hillary Clinton was actually that bad, but I digress. Even on the airplane segment of the interview, Duca plainly said that she’s a public figure; she shouldn’t get a pass on criticism. At the same time, she’s not pro-harassment on an airplane while your kids are with you. In fact, she’s not for anyone yelling at anyone on an airplane. As for Tucker, well, he admitted that his behavior was appalling, that he wanted to be mean to Duca, and blamed his lack of preparedness that prompted the mean spirited interview. McKay Coppins at The Atlantic spoke with him in February, where this came up (via The Atlantic):
“If I find myself wanting to be mean to anyone, it’s time to stop,” he [Carlson] tells me.
“Does that happen sometimes?” I ask.
He glances down at his salad. “It’s happened once, yeah.”
“With, um, a woman from Teen Glamour.”
I know instantly what interview he’s talking about. “You mean Teen Vogue?”
The segment is one of his most notorious—an interview just before Christmas with the liberal writer Lauren Duca. The discussion was supposed to focus on the harassment Ivanka Trump had recently endured during a commercial flight. But the segment got off to a contentious start, and it quickly descended into Carlson nitpicking Duca’s diction and taking petty shots at her employer. After mockingly reading a handful of headlines from Duca’s celebrity fashion coverage, he ended the segment by advising, “You should stick to the thigh-high boots. You are better at that.” The interview promptly went viral, and the host came off looking mean, sexist, and faintly pathetic.
Carlson says now that he regrets the way he handled the interview, and blames his bad behavior on his own lack of preparation for the segment. “I don’t ever want to get mad … I think it diminishes me and the show, and I don’t want to be that way.”
When I ask him why he was so infuriated by Duca, he thinks about it for a moment.
Finally, he answers, “It was the unreasonableness … It’s this assumption—and it’s held by a lot of people I live around—that you’re on God’s side, everyone else is an infidel, and by calling them names you’re doing the Lord’s work. I just don’t think that’s admirable, and I’m not impressed by that.”
Alas, this wasn’t a media analysis panel; it was one on how to break stereotypes. At the same time, it also confirmed that locker room talk does exist (it always existed, but for those who were still in denial—here you go), and that men and women participate in it.