Carlson in 2018
Tucker McNear Carlson
May 16, 1969
|Education||St. George's School|
|Alma mater||Trinity College (BA)|
|Occupation||Talk show host, commentator, columnist|
|Home town||La Jolla, California, U.S.|
Lisa McNear Lombardi
Carlson became a print journalist in the 1990s, writing for the magazine The Weekly Standard, among others. He was a commentator on CNN, from 2000 to 2005, and co-host of Crossfire. Carlson then hosted the nightly program Tucker on MSNBC, from 2005 to 2008. He has been a political analyst for Fox News since 2009. In 2010, Carlson co-founded and served as the initial editor-in-chief of the conservative news and opinion website The Daily Caller.
Early in his career, Carlson was regarded as a libertarian political commentator. More recently, he has expressed skepticism of libertarian economic policies and aligned himself with American nationalism and right-wing populism. Carlson has written two books, the memoir Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News (2003) and Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (2018).
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Television career
- 3 Writings
- 4 Political views
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Early life and educationEdit
Carlson was born Tucker McNear Carlson (later, Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson) in San Francisco, California. He is the elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former "gonzo reporter" who became the director of the Voice of America, the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles.
Carlson's paternal grandparents were Richard Boynton and Dorothy Anderson, teenagers who placed his father in an orphanage where he was adopted when he was two years old by the Carlsons –– a wool broker and his wife.
Carlson's mother was artist Lisa McNear (née Lombardi). He also has a brother, Buckley Peck Carlson (later, Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson), who is nearly two years younger and was born two months premature.
In 1976, Carlson's parents divorced after the nine-year marriage reportedly "turned sour." Carlson's father was granted custody of him and his brother. Carlson would later claim that his mother left the family when he was six, wanting to pursue a "bohemian" lifestyle. She eventually split her time between Beaufort County, South Carolina and Cazac, France, where she had little contact with Carlson's family and later married artist, Michael Vaughn.
Dick Carlson was said to be an active father who had a specific outlook in raising his sons:
I want them to be self-disciplined to the degree that I think is necessary to find satisfaction...you measure a person on how far they go, on how far they've sprung. My parents, the Carlsons, they instilled a modesty in me that, at times, gets in my way...I know it's immodest of me to say it, but it's difficult sometimes when you want to beat your own drum and say what you really think.
In 1979, Carlson's father married fellow divorcée, Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to Swanson Enterprises. Swanson is the daughter of Gilbert Carl Swanson and the niece of Senator J. William Fulbright. This was the third marriage for Swanson who legally adopted Carlson and his brother.
When Carlson was in first grade, his father moved him and his brother to La Jolla, California and raised them there. In La Jolla, Carlson attended La Jolla Country Day School and grew up in a home overlooking the La Jolla Beach and the Tennis Club. His father owned property in Nevada, Vermont, and islands in Maine and Nova Scotia.
Carlson attended St. George's School for high school, a boarding school in Middletown, Rhode Island. He then went to Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he graduated in 1991 with a degree in history.
Carlson began his journalism career as a fact-checker for Policy Review, a national conservative journal then published by The Heritage Foundation and since acquired by the Hoover Institution. He later worked as a reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper in Little Rock, Arkansas, before joining The Weekly Standard newsmagazine in 1995.
As a magazine and newspaper journalist, Carlson has reported from around the world. He has been a columnist for New York and Reader's Digest. He also wrote for Esquire, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Daily Beast.
In 2000, Carlson co-hosted the short-lived show The Spin Room.
In 2001, Carlson was appointed co-host of Crossfire. On the show, Carlson and Robert Novak represented the political right (alternating on different nights), while James Carville and Paul Begala, also alternating as hosts, represented the left. During the same period, he also hosted a weekly public affairs program on PBS, Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered.
In October 2004, Carlson had an exchange with Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Stewart argued that Carlson and the nature of Crossfire were harmful to political discourse in the United States. Carlson later recalled that Stewart had stayed at CNN for hours after the show to discuss the issues he had raised on the air. "It was heartfelt," Carlson said, "He [Stewart] needed to do this." In 2017, The New York Times referred to Stewart's "on-air dressing-down" of Carlson as an "ignominious career [moment]" for Carlson. According to the Times, Stewart's criticism "led to the cancellation of [the show]".
In January 2005, CNN announced they were ending their relationship with Carlson and would soon cancel Crossfire. CNN chief Jonathan Klein told Carlson on January 4, 2005, that the network had decided not to renew his contract. Carlson has said that he had already resigned from CNN and Crossfire long before Stewart was booked as a guest, telling host Patricia Duff: "I resigned from Crossfire in April , many months before Jon Stewart came on our show, because I didn't like the partisanship, and I thought in some ways it was kind of a pointless conversation ... each side coming out, you know, 'Here's my argument', and no one listening to anyone else. [CNN] was a frustrating place to work."
Carlson's early evening show, Tucker (originally titled The Situation With Tucker Carlson) premiered on June 13, 2005, on MSNBC.
Carlson also hosted a late afternoon weekday wrap-up for MSNBC during the 2006 Winter Olympics, during which he attempted to learn how to play various Olympic sports. In July 2006, he reported live for Tucker from Haifa, Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. While in the Middle East, he also hosted MSNBC Special Report: Mideast Crisis. He appeared regularly on Verdict with Dan Abrams as a panelist in political discussions.
Tucker lasted fewer than three full seasons. The network announced its cancellation due to low ratings on March 10, 2008, and the final episode aired on March 14, 2008. Brian Stelter of The New York Times wrote that "during Mr. Carlson's tenure, MSNBC's evening programming moved gradually to the left. His former time slots, 6 and 9 pm, were then occupied by two liberals, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow." Carlson stated that the network had changed a lot and "they didn't have a role for me."
Fox News Channel (2009–present)Edit
In May 2009, Fox News announced that Carlson was being hired as a Fox News contributor. He was a frequent guest panelist on Fox's late-night satire show Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld, made frequent appearances on the All-Star Panel segment of Special Report with Bret Baier, was a substitute host of Hannity in Sean Hannity's absence, and produced a Fox News special entitled Fighting for Our Children's Minds.
In March 2013, it was announced that Carlson would co-host the weekend editions of Fox & Friends; he had been a contributor and frequent guest host on the program. He replaced Dave Briggs, who left the news channel to join the NBC Sports Network in January 2013. Beginning in April, Carlson officially joined co-hosts Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Tucker Carlson Tonight (2016–present)Edit
On November 14, 2016, Carlson started hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. Tucker Carlson Tonight was created to replace the show On the Record. The show debuted as "the network's most watched telecast of the year in the time slot". The program's premiere episode, viewed by 3.7 million, was rated higher than previous editions of On the Record.
Tucker Carlson Tonight aired at 7 pm. ET each weeknight until January 9, 2017, when Carlson's show replaced Megyn Kelly at the 9 pm. ET time slot after she left Fox News. In January 2017, Forbes reported that the show had "scored consistently high ratings, averaging 2.8 million viewers per night and ranking as the number two cable news program behind The O'Reilly Factor in December . In March 2017, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the most watched cable program in the 9 p.m. time slot.
On April 19, 2017, it was announced that Tucker Carlson Tonight would air at 8:00 p.m. following the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. Tucker Carlson Tonight was the third-highest-rated cable news show as of March 2018.
In October 2018, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second-highest rated cable news show in prime time, after Hannity, with 3.2 million nightly viewers. By January 2019, it dropped to third with 2.8 million nightly viewers, down six percent for the year.
In 2018 and 2019, the show was the target of an advertiser boycott. Advertisers began leaving the show after Carlson's said that U.S. immigration makes the country "poorer, dirtier and more divided." According to Fox News, the advertisers only moved their ad buys to other programs. By early 2019, the show had lost at least 26 advertisers. By August 2019, Media Matters calculated that the show had lost more than 70 advertisers since December 2018 and was supplementing commercial breaks with Fox News programming promotions and public service announcements. By late September of 2019, almost 50 advertisers had released statements announcing the discontinuation of advertising on the show, and according to The Guardian "dozens more cut ties without saying anything publicly."
The Daily Caller (2010–present)Edit
On January 11, 2010, Carlson and former vice president Dick Cheney aide Neil Patel launched a political news website titled The Daily Caller. Carlson served as editor-in-chief, and occasionally wrote opinion pieces with Patel. The website was funded by the conservative activist Foster Freiss. By February The Daily Caller was part of the White House rotating press pool.
In an interview with Politico, Carlson said that The Daily Caller would not be tied to ideology but rather will be "breaking stories of importance". In a Washington Post article, Carlson added, "We're not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy on anyone." Columnist Mickey Kaus quit after Carlson refused to run a column critical of Fox News's coverage of the immigration policy debate due to his contractual obligations to Fox News.
Dancing with the StarsEdit
Carlson was a contestant on season 3 of the reality show Dancing with the Stars, which aired in 2006; he was paired with professional dancer Elena Grinenko. Carlson took four-hour-a-day ballroom dance classes in preparation for the competition. In an interview a month before the show began, he lamented that he would miss classes during a two-week-long MSNBC assignment in Lebanon, noting that "It's hard for me to remember the moves." Carlson said he accepted ABC's invitation to perform because "I don't do things that I'm not good at very often. I'm psyched to get to do that." Carlson was the first contestant eliminated, on September 13, 2006.
In 2003, Carlson authored the memoir Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, about his television news experiences; the publisher was Warner Books. One of the book's revelations was Carlson's description of being falsely accused of rape by a woman he did not know who suffered from severe mental illness and displayed stalker-like behavior. Carlson wrote in the book that the incident was emotionally traumatic.
In May 2017, Carlson, represented by the literary and creative agency Javelin, signed an eight-figure, two-book deal with Simon & Schuster's Threshold Editions. His first book in the series, Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution, was released in October 2018. It debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
In February 2012, The Daily Caller published an "investigative series" of articles co-authored by Carlson, purporting to be an insiders' exposé of Media Matters for America (MMfA), a liberal watchdog group that monitors and scrutinizes conservative media outlets, and its founder David Brock. Citing "current and former" MMfA employees, "friends" of Brock's and a "prominent liberal" — none of whom are named — the article characterized MMfA as having "an atmosphere of tension and paranoia" and portraying Brock as "erratic, unstable and disturbing," who "struggles with mental illness," in fear of "right-wing assassins," a regular cocaine user and would "close [local bars] and party till six in the morning." Reuters media critic and libertarian Jack Shafer, while noting "I've never thought much of Media Matters' style of watchdogging or Brock's journalism," nevertheless sharply criticized the Daily Caller piece as "anonymously sourced crap," adding "Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters with bad journalism and lame propaganda."
Carlson is generally described as a conservative. Writing for New York's Intelligencer, Park MacDougald called Carlson a "Middle American radical", which he described as someone who holds populist economic beliefs, hostililty to corporatocracy, fervent positions on nationalism, race and immigration, and a preference for strongmen in political authority. MacDouglad identified this form of radicalism as the ideological core of "Trumpism."
Carlson has espoused a libertarian view of economics.
In 2018, Carlson began to promote a more populist view of economics, attacking libertarianism and stating that "market capitalism is not a religion." In an interview, he warned that economic and technological change that occurs too quickly can cause widespread social and political upheaval, and stated his belief that a model to follow is that of President Theodore Roosevelt, whose interventionist role in the economy in the early 1900s may have, in Carlson's view, prevented a communist revolution in the United States.
In 2019, in his monologue on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson stated that America's "ruling class" are, in effect, the "mercenaries" behind the decline of the American middle class:
"...any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society".
"Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions...Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct."
He has criticized, what he believes to be "hysterics" about climate change, and has implied that Democratic policy goals on climate change are a political ploy to control the lives of Americans that will harm the economy:
"Banning straws is mindless and annoying. If you really cared about plastic pollution, you’d punish China for dumping it in the ocean. But banning all fracking? That’s just demented. The energy sector is the single most successful part of the American economy. It’s one of the only things propping up our trade balance. It’s been a savior of last resort for rural areas devastated by globalization."
On his show, Carlson frequently hosts guests who downplay climate science.
Views on Republicans and DemocratsEdit
Carlson did not vote in the 2004 election, citing his disgust with the Iraq War, his disillusionment with the once small-government Republican Party, and his disappointment with President George W. Bush along with likeminded conservatives:
"I don't know what you consider conservative, but I'm not much of a 'liberal,' at least as the word is currently defined. For instance, I'm utterly opposed to abortion, which I think is horrible and cruel. I think affirmative action is wrong. I'd like to slow immigration pretty dramatically. I hate all nanny-state regulations, such as seat belt laws and smoking bans. I'm not for big government. I think the U.S. ought to hesitate before intervening abroad. I think these are conservative impulses. So by my criteria, Bush isn't much of a conservative.
"I liked McCain. And I would have voted for McCain for president happily, not because I agree with his politics; I never took McCain's politics seriously enough even to have strong feelings about them. I don't think McCain has very strong politics. He's interested in ideas almost as little as George W. Bush is. McCain isn't intellectual and doesn't have a strong ideology at all. He's wound up sort of as a liberal Republican because he's mad at other Republicans, not because he's a liberal."
In January 2019, Carlson used an op-ed by Mitt Romney, in The Washington Post, to criticize what he described as the "mainstream Republican" worldview, consisting of "unwavering support for a finance-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy," which he argued was also supported by the bulk of Democrats. He cited parallels, in regard to economic and social problems which had befallen inner cities and rural areas, despite cultural and demographic differences between their respective populations, as evidence that the "culture of poverty," which had been cited by conservatives as the cause of urban decline, "wasn't the whole story:"
"[Both parties] miss the obvious point: Culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible."
Carlson is a registered member of the Democratic Party in Washington D.C. In 2017, Carlson stated that he registered for the Democratic Party to gain the right to vote in mayoral elections in the district and said that he "always votes for the more corrupt candidate over the idealist."
In May 2019, after Robert Mueller gave a statement saying the Special Counsel investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, Carlson said Mueller was "sleazy and dishonest."
"I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it. It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. No. I want things to work out, but I'm enraged by it, actually."
In June 2019, Carlson remained critical of the war, stating:
"We killed hundreds of thousands of people, lost thousands of our own troops, spent more than $1 trillion — all to eliminate a WMD threat that, despite John Bolton’s assurances, never existed in the first place."
In July 2017, Carlson said that "[w]e actually don’t face any domestic threat from Iran." He asked Max Boot to "tell me how many Americans in the United States have been murdered by terrorists backed by Iran since 9/11?". According to the New York Times, Carlson played an influential role in dissuading Trump from launching military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of American drone in June 2019. Carlson reportedly told Trump that if he listened to his hawkish advisors and went ahead with the strikes, he would not win re-election.
Carlson supported the proposed expansion of the Mexico–United States barrier – citing the Israeli West Bank barrier as an example. Carlson argued: "The estimated cost of a border wall is about $25 billion. That is estimated so let's say it is twice that. That is still a tiny fraction of the price of the pointless stalemate we're now waging in Afghanistan. That costs about $45 billion every year, not including the human cost. Compare that to $25 billion needed to restore sovereignty with the wall."
In a July 2018 interview about Russian involvement in U.S. elections, Carlson said that Mexico has interfered in U.S. elections "more successfully" than Russia by "packing our electorate" through mass immigration. This assertion was disputed by journalist Philip Bump, who wrote that the number of Mexicans in the U.S. had decreased since 2009 and asked rhetorically: "What good has it done Mexico to have a number of its citizens move to the United States and gain the right to vote?".
In May 2019, Carlson defended Trump's decision to place tariffs on Mexico unless Mexico stopped illegal immigration to the United States. Carlson said, "When the United States is attacked by a hostile foreign power it must strike back, and make no mistake Mexico is a hostile foreign power."
Carlson has said he does not consider Russia a serious threat. Carlson has called for the United States to work with Russia in the American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War against a common enemy like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Peter Beinart of The Atlantic said that Carlson has been an "apologist for Donald Trump on the Russia scandal". Carlson described the controversy in the wake of revelations that Donald Trump Jr. was willing to accept anti-Clinton information from a Russian government official as a "new level of hysteria" and said that Trump Jr. had only been "gossiping with foreigners".
Carlson opposes overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In April 2018, Carlson questioned whether Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical attack that occurred the same month and killed dozens. Carlson suggested that a similar attack that occurred the year before (the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack), which was widely attributed to Assad's forces and which the OPCW JIM indicated was carried out with sarin that bore the regime's signature, was a false flag attack perpetrated to falsely implicate the Assad government. Carlson compared Assad's war crimes during the Syrian Civil War to Saudi Arabia's war crimes in Yemen.
When President Trump met Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un at the Korean border in June 2019, Carlson told Fox & Friends said that although "there's no defending the North Korean regime ... you've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people." Carlson went on to argue that although "not on the scale that the North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that [the United States] are closely allied with."
Immigration and raceEdit
Carlson is a frequent critic of immigration. Carlson has been accused by Erik Wemple of The Washington Post and by writers for Vox of demonizing immigrants, both those who immigrated to the U.S. legally and illegally. He has opposed demographic changes in the United States, writing that the demographic change seen in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which saw Hispanics go from a small minority to a majority over a 15-year period, is "more change than human beings are designed to digest". In 2018, Carlson suggested that mass immigration makes the United States "dirtier", "poorer" and "more divided". In response to criticism of this, he has said that "we're not intimidated" and "we plan to try to say what's true until the last day. And the truth is, unregulated mass immigration has badly hurt this country's natural landscape". Of illegal immigration, Carlson said in May 2019, "The flood of illegal workers into the United States has damaged our communities, ruined our schools, burdened our healthcare system and fractured our national unity."
Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center said that "Carlson probably has been the No. 1 commentator mainstreaming bedrock principles of white nationalism in [the US]," and accused him of promoting the white genocide conspiracy theory, the idea that white people are under attack by minorities and immigrants. Anti-Defamation League's Jessica Reaves has compared Carlson's defense of the nuclear family to white supremacist anti-immigrant rhetoric.
According to CNN, Business Insider, Vox and GQ, Carlson's show has promoted and echoed white supremacist discourse. Neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol described the views Carlson expressed on his show as "ethno-nationalism of some kind"; Carlson responded that Kristol had "discredited himself years ago." Carlson has denied being a racist and has said that he hates racism.
In call-in segments Carlson made from 2006 2008 on the radio show of Bubba the Love Sponge, Carlson stated that Iraq was not worth invading because it was a country made up of "semiliterate primitive monkeys" who "don't use toilet paper or forks." He also criticized "lunatic Muslims who are behaving like animals", and said that any presidential candidate who vowed to "kill as many of them as [they] can" would be "elected king". Recordings of these segments were released online on March 2019 by the progressive non-profit Media Matters for America. The Washington Post labelled these comments racist. Carlson also made demeaning remarks towards women, made light of rape, defended then-alleged criminal Warren Jeffs and used homophobic slurs. Carlson declined to apologize for his comments.
When Mitt Romney condemned then-candidate Donald Trump after Trump evaded questions about David Duke’s support, saying it was a "disqualifying and disgusting response [...]. His coddling of repugnant bigotry is not in the character of America", Carlson criticized Romney. Carlson said "Obama could have written" that.
Carlson concluded his July 9, 2019 Tucker Carlson Tonight episode with a 3-minute monologue about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); he criticized Omar for being un-grateful to the United States, where she had been granted asylum, and called her "living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country." His monologue was described by The Guardian as "scathing", "racially loaded", and "full of anti-immigrant rhetoric". Congresswoman Omar responded immediately on Twitter, saying that "advertisers should not be underwriting this kind of dangerous, hateful rhetoric." In their July 10 article on the incident, The Daily Beast said that, mainly because of "right-wing attacks that have then been amplified by members of Congress and the president", Omar has been receiving death threats since she was elected to Congress. According to the article, while Carlson "has devoted numerous segments" of his show to criticizing her, this time Carlson "took his anti-Omar stance even further."
Days after the 2019 El Paso shooting which was committed by a man who released an anti-immigrant manifesto complaining of a "Hispanic invasion", Carlson described white supremacy as a "hoax" and "a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power". He asked rhetorically, "the combined membership of every white supremacist group in America - would they be able to fit inside a college football stadium?" According to The Washington Post, "Carlson’s argument is belied by many experts and seemingly contradicted by a recent wave of deadly attacks by men motivated by those views."
In August 2018, Carlson ran a segment in which he alleged that the South African government was targeting white farmers during its ongoing land reform efforts due to anti-white racism. He interviewed Marian Tupy, an analyst at the Cato Institute, who likened South African farmers facing land seizures to white farmers in Zimbabwe who lost their farms in a controversial land reform policy under the President Robert Mugabe. In the segment, Carlson criticized "elites" who were purportedly concerned about racism "paying no attention" to the "racist government of South Africa". He accused South African President Cyril Ramaphosa of changing the country's constitution to enable land theft of whites, and without compensation, because "they are the wrong skin color."
CBS News, Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal described Carlson's segment on South Africa's corrective reparations as false or misleading. In addition to presenting statistics that violence against farmers had reached an all-time low, they noted that the reforms had yet to pass and were primarily aimed at land that had fallen into disuse.
Following the Carlson segment, President Trump tweeted that he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizure and large scale killing of farmers." Trump's tweet was denounced as "'misinformed'" by the South African government, which stated that it would address the matter through diplomatic channels. The White Nationalist South African group, AfriForum, took credit for Carlson and Trump's statements, saying it believed that its campaign to influence American politics had succeeded.
The evening following the segment, Carlson corrected the statements that he had made about the South African land reform, though he did not admit to having made errors. He said the proposed constitutional amendment was still being debated in South Africa and added that no farms had yet been expropriated. Carlson later stated in an interview that he "doesn't believe anyone should be rewarded or punished based upon characteristics they can't control" and added that his South Africa segment made "an argument against tribalism."
Carlson is married to Susan Carlson (née Andrews). They met, and married in the chapel of, St. George School, in high school. They have three daughters and one son, including Lillie (b. 1995), Buckley (b. 1997), Hopie (b. 1999), and Dorothy.
Carlson quit drinking alcohol in 2002, "having decided that neither the pleasant nights nor the unpleasant mornings were improving his life". Years earlier, he had quit smoking and replaced cigarettes with nicotine gum, which he buys in bulk from New Zealand and "chews constantly".
Carlson is a Deadhead (a fan of the rock band the Grateful Dead) and stated in a 2005 interview that he had attended more than 50 of their concerts. He was also good friends with the late Nevada brothel owner, Dennis Hof.
In 2012, Carlson and his brother, Buckley, filed a lawsuit to determine succession of his estranged mother's –– Lisa Vaughn –– right to oil and gas royalties in B&N Minerals Partnership, in which she received royalties to nearly 70,000 acres of land in Kern, Merced & Fresno counties in California, initially valued at over $125,000. In 2015, after several appeals, the value of the rights was found to be over $2.5 million. However, in a one-page handwritten will produced during the proceedings, Vaughn explicitly expressed that she did not want Carlson or his brother to receive any inheritance from her:
"I leave all of my earthly goods and possessions to my husband, Michael Erroll Vaughan. This includes but is not limited to; all of my shares of our jointly owned real estate, personal property, common stock, mutual fund shares, bank accounts, silver, paintings, jewelry and vehicles. I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each; $1.00 each."
In 2018, a group of about 20 activists from Smash Racism D.C. protested outside Carlson's Washington, D.C., home. Carlson's driveway was vandalized with a spray-painted anarchist symbol. Police responded within minutes and the protesters were dispersed.
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