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Tucker Carlson out at Fox, CNN fires Don Lemon

Firings shook cable news on Monday



Tucker Carlson (Fox News screenshot)

The political and media worlds were jolted Monday by news that Fox News host and pundit Tucker Carlson and the network had abruptly parted ways followed by news from Atlanta within an hour that CNN had terminated morning anchor Don Lemon.

Both men had stirred controversy within the ranks of their respective networks in recent months with on-air comments and behind the camera drama as described by insiders at both Fox and CNN to the Washington Blade.

Word of Carlson’s departure came in a statement from the network early Monday:

“Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.

Carlson’s last program was Friday. “Fox News Tonight” will air live at 8 p.m. ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named

Co-anchor of “CNN This Morning,” Lemon’s termination was announced on Twitter by Lemon himself:

” I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”

CNN CEO Chris Licht said that the network and Lemon have “parted ways,” according to a memo posted on CNN’s official communications Twitter account.

“Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” the statement said. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”

Carlson joined Fox News as a contributor in 2009 and served as a co-host of “Fox and Friends Weekend” from 2012-2016.  His show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” aired in 2016 and a year later moved into the primetime 8 p.m. slot in April 2017.

Carlson has had a lengthy history of inflammatory commentary during his tenure at Fox. He has targeted minority groups as noted by D.C.-based progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America. The groups’ researchers Madeline Peltz and Nikki McCann Ramírez noted:

Since the early days of his tenure as a Fox prime-time host, Tucker Carlson’s unabashed championing of white grievances earned him the accolades of neo-Nazis, who praised him as a “one man gas chamber” and complimented the way he “lampshad[ed] Jews on national television.” While Carlson claims to have nothing in common with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, he constantly echoes their talking points on his show and was very reluctant to condemn white supremacists following their deadly 2017 demonstration in Charlottesville, Va. In fact, Carlson’s racist roots can be traced back more than a decade.

For the American LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people, Carlson has led a relentless campaign mocking and denigrating trans people. In a late December 2022 episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, he hosted Libs of TikTok owner Chaya Raichik, who labeled LGBTQ people as: “They’re bad people. They’re evil people. And they want to groom kids. They’re recruiting.” 

Raichik’s Twitter account has spewed anti-LGBTQ hate speech with special emphasis on singling out American trans youth, attacking healthcare professionals who provide gender affirming care including children’s hospitals in Boston, Nashville and D.C. which has led her over 1 million followers to pummel those medical facilities with hate filled online abuse and escalating to criminal acts including bomb threats and death threats against doctors.

During that interview Carlson nodded sympathetically as he embraced Raichik’s extremism.

During the Aug. 22, 2022, edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, Carlson, while interviewing former Russia Today and current Rebel News reporter Jeremy Loffredo about his story regarding Amish farmer named Amos Miller, who has legal problems with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over food safety concerns, at one point blurted out: “Maybe if he promises to put more chemicals in the milk to turn kids trans, they’ll lay off.”

Carlson has long targeted President Joe Biden, his family, and members of the president’s administration. During the May 10, 2022, edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, he mocked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who is an openly Black lesbian:

“Karine Jean-Pierre is our first out LGBTQ+ White House Press Secretary and that’s all you need to know. It’s a good thing, shut up and celebrate. That’s why she got the job. She’s in the right group and so the Biden administration, which thinks exclusively in terms of groups and never in terms of individuals because individuals are messy and inconvenient, the group is all that matters. […] Not only is she a member of the out LGBTQ+ community, she’s also, critically, the product of a private school and an Ivy League college and yet still oppressed somehow. She is furious at America despite her ample privilege and enraged by its racist systems of oppression. And she’s happy to tell you about it.”

On the political front, Carlson’s embrace of the far-right extremist elements had led to disagreements and heated internal debate a Fox News source told the Blade on Monday. Adding to the controversy and in turn exacerbated by the massive $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems in the lawsuit filed against Fox in March 2021 over defamatory comments, including a Jan. 26, 2021, episode of Carlson’s show featuring MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, was Carlson’s role.

CBS News notes that Carlson has been a fixture of cable news for decades, hosting shows on CNN, MSNBC and PBS before he joined Fox News. He also co-founded the conservative website the Daily Caller, which launched in 2010. Carlson stepped down from day-to-day oversight of the website after landing his show on Fox News and sold his stake in the outlet in 2020.

Don Lemon/Facebook

Monday’s termination of Lemon by cable news giant CNN comes after NBC News reported that media industry news and entertainment outlet Variety published a story earlier this month on allegations that he mistreated his female colleagues over the course of his career there. And earlier this year, he faced backlash over widely criticized comments he made on-air.

Lemon has been with CNN since 2006, joining the network after anchoring at NBC Chicago and working as a correspondent for NBC News, the “TODAY” show and “NBC Nightly News.”

Lemon had come out as an openly gay African American news anchor 12 years ago in 2011 telling the Blade in a May 2011 interview:

“I have to tell you I can’t even put it in those terms. I mean, it goes way over a scale of one to 10, honestly. And it goes way over incredible. I mean I just feel like a new person.” 

Lemon also faced hate and anti-gay extremism, at one point during the Trump era filed a police report with the New York Police Department for “aggravated harassment” after receiving death threats on Twitter.

The anchor, who is partnered to fiancé, Tim Malone, a real estate agent, had heated arguments with network staff after his negative treatment of “CNN This Morning” co-star Kaitlan Collins was discussed within the company.

NBC News noted Lemon also came under fire in February during a segment on “CNN This Morning” in which he remarked that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, was no longer in her “prime.” The comment was made while discussing a suggestion by Haley that candidates over the age of 75 should be subjected to mental competency exams.

“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime — in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”

When pushed by co-anchor Poppy Harlow, Lemon told her not to “shoot the messenger.”

At the time of the Variety article, a spokesperson for Lemon said in a statement to NBC News following the report that it was “amazing and disappointing that Variety would be so reckless.”

“The story, which is riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip,” the statement said.



Suhas Subramanyam wins Democratic primary in Va. 10th Congressional District

Former Obama advisor vows to champion LGBTQ rights in Congress



Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Fairfax County) (Photo courtesy of Subramanyam's campaign)

Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun County) on Tuesday won the Democratic primary in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) in Congress.

Subramanyam won the Democratic primary in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District with 30.4 percent of the votes. The Loudoun County Democrat who was an advisor to former President Barack Obama will face Republican Mike Clancy in November’s general election.

“I’m thrilled to be the Democratic nominee in Virginia’s 10th, and to have won this election during Pride Month,” Subramanyam told the Washington Blade on Wednesday in an emailed statement. “As I have done in the state legislature and as an Obama White House policy advisor, I will always stand as an ally with the LGBTQ+ community.”

Wexton, who is a vocal LGBTQ rights champion, last September announced she will not seek re-election after doctors diagnosed her with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological disorder she has described as “Parkinson’s on steroids.” Wexton is a vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and a previous co-chair of its Transgender Equality Task Force.

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Johnny Randolph Hunt dies at 72

Known for his many years at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Johnny Randolph Hunt passed away quietly on May 27, 2024, after a well-fought battle against late-stage metastatic prostate cancer that had spread to his bones. He was 72.

Hunt was well known for his many years at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., and for his artistic talents, where he used recycled junk mail to make whimsical masks and wall hangings known as Peculiars.  

In high school, he was a top-performing cross-country runner, and he frequented Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway for long hikes and camping trips. Hunt was born on Feb. 15, 1952 to parents Janette Simshauser Hunt of Amherst, N.Y., and Melvin Hunt of Covesville, Va., both now deceased. He is survived by his husband of 45 years, Jeffrey David Miller and three sisters, Motanna Cason, Joyce Brown, and Shirley Shiflett, and one brother, Rocky Hunt, and a host of other relatives.  

A celebration of life was held on Saturday, June 15. There will be follow-on services in Kinsale, Va., Charlottesville, Va., and Amherst, N.Y., which will be announced later. His favorite charities were  Wounded Warriors, the Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation, Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Habitat for Humanity. Donations in honor of Johnny should be directed to your charities of choice.

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65% of Black Americans support Black LGBTQ rights: survey

Results show 40% have LGBTQ family member



(Logo courtesy of the NBJC)

The National Black Justice Coalition, a D.C.-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced on June 19 that it commissioned what it believes to be a first-of-its-kind national survey of Black people in the United States in which 65 percent said they consider themselves “supporters of Black LGBTQ+ people and rights,” with 57 percent of the supporters saying they were “churchgoers.”

In a press release describing the findings of the survey, NBJC said it commissioned the research firm HIT Strategies to conduct the survey with support from five other national LGBTQ organizations – the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Family Equality, and GLSEN.

“One of the first surveys of its kind, explicitly sampling Black people (1,300 participants) on Black LGBTQ+ people and issues – including an oversampling of Black LGBTQ+ participants to provide a more representative view of this subgroup – it investigates the sentiments, stories, perceptions, and priorities around Black values and progressive policies, to better understand how they impact Black views on Black LGBTQ+ people,” the press release says.

It says the survey found, among other things, that 73 percent of Gen Z respondents, who in 2024 are between the ages of 12 and 27, “agree that the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people.”

According to the press release, it also found that 40 percent of Black people in the survey reported having a family member who identifies as LGBTQ+ and 80 percent reported having “some proximity to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer people, but only 42 percent have some proximity to transgender or gender-expansive people.”

The survey includes these additional findings:

• 86% of Black people nationally report having a feeling of shared fate and connectivity with other Black people in the U.S., but this view doesn’t fully extend to the Black LGBTQ+ community. Around half — 51% — of Black people surveyed feel a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.

• 34% reported the belief that Black LGBTQ+ people “lead with their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Those participants were “significantly less likely to support the Black LGBTQ+ community and most likely to report not feeling a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.”

• 92% of Black people in the survey reported “concern about youth suicide after being shown statistics about the heightened rate among Black LGBTQ+ youth.” Those expressing this concern included 83% of self-reported opponents of LGBTQ+ rights.

• “Black people’s support for LGBTQ+ rights can be sorted into three major groups: 29% Active Accomplices, 25% Passive Allies (high potential to be moved), 35% Opponents. Among Opponents, ‘competing priorities’ and ‘religious beliefs’ are the two most significant barriers to supporting Black LGBTQ+ people and issues.”

• 10% of the survey participants identified as LGBTQ. Among those who identified as LGBTQ, 38% identified as bisexual, 33% identified as lesbian or gay, 28% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming, and 6% identified as transgender.

• Also, among those who identified as LGBTQ, 89% think the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people, 69% think Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedoms than other Black people, 35% think non-Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedom than other Black people, 54% “feel their vote has a lot of power,” 51% live in urban areas, and 75% rarely or never attend church.

Additional information about the survey from NBJC can be accessed here.

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