Fire Tucker Carlson

Feature story - August 4, 2005
Greenpeace is a global organization which celebrates freedom of expression. So why is our executive director, John Passacantando, calling for NBC to fire Tucker Carlson?

Tucker Carlson

During the June 22, 2005, edition of his MSNBC show, The Situation with Tucker Carlson, Mr. Carlson stated that he has always respected France for blowing up the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior.  The Rainbow Warrior was blown up in Auckland Harbor by French agents on July 10, 1985.

From "The Situation with Tucker Carlson,"

MSNBC, June 22, 2005

CARLSON: I am objectively pro-France. You know, France blew up the Rainbow Warrior, that Greenpeace ship in Auckland Harbor in the '80s. And I've always respected them...

MADDOW: That made you like them? 

CARLSON: Yes. Yes. It won me over.

Fernando Pereira, the ship's photographer, drowned below deck, leaving behind two young children. The bombing was later proven to be an act of state-sponsored terrorism sanctioned by the French government. Two of the agents involved were charged and sent to prison.

On July 28, 2005, John Passacantando wrote to Neal Shapiro, president of  NBC/MSNBC News, and to Bill Wolff, executive producer of the "Situation with Tucker Carlson," demanding that the network hold Tucker Carlson accountable for his remarks and fire him..  While free speech may allow Mr. Carlson to endorse terrorism, NBC has an obligation to its viewers not to give a platform to anyone who would promote terrorism or murder. 

On the afternoon of August 3, Mr. Carlson telephoned John.  Far from apologizing or retracting his remark, he was defiant.  He insisted that the French government's action was "vandalism," not terrorism, adding that "vandalizing the ship was impressive on France's part."  He referred to Greenpeace acts of civil protest, such as blocking entrances as "vandalism," but he declined to respond when asked whether he would consider Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to be vandals.  He also declined to answer when asked whether he was proud of what he said and whether he would say it again.  Instead, he concluded the call by saying, "I am not hanging up.  I am returning the handset to the cradle."

Our executive director has also made repeated attempts to reach Mr. Neil Shapiro and Mr. Bill Wolff at NBC. He has received no response from either of them though he was put through to the vice president of Broadcast and Standards who admitted that, while he had been forwarded his letter, he had yet to read it.