CNN host Don Lemon found himself in the uncomfortable position of defending Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who was harassed in a Montana fishing store over the weekend while shopping with his daughter.
The confrontation between Carlson and another customer, who called the right-wing pundit “the worst human,” was caught on video over the weekend.
“I never thought I’d be in the position to maybe somehow have to defend Tucker Carlson,” Lemon said on his Tuesday night show.
But that’s what he did.
In addition to undermining the seriousness of the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol and backing the baseless election fraud claims that led to the violence, Carlson has been faulted for his reporting on the deadly COVID pandemic and accused of aiding in its perpetuity by contributing to vaccine hesitancy. In April, Carlson encouraged his followers to, without hesitation, get in the face of people wearing masks and “politely but firmly” tell them to remove their facial coverings.
Still, Lemon took no pleasure from seeing his counterpart confronted in public.
“I don’t like it,” Lemon said. “I don’t like it when people do that because I would not want it to happen to me.”
Lemon noted that Carlson’s rhetoric is “reprehensible and divorced from reality,” the latter a federal judge has ruled as well, but said the 52-year-old entertainer should “not be accosted and not be ambushed by anyone.”
Fox News put out a statement calling the public scolding of its top-rated host “inexcusable” and seemed to agree with Lemon.
“No public figure should be accosted regardless of their political persuasion or beliefs simply due to the intolerance of another point of view,” Fox said.
Carlson handled the situation in Montana with grace, telling the man who approached him “I appreciate that” while communicating to his critic that he was with his daughter.
Lemon said Tuesday that he, too, handles such matters by saying “Thank you so much, I appreciate it” to calm down those who harass him in public spaces.
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