Tucker Carlson, a Fox News propagandist whose nightly program frequently has the greatest audience of any cable news program, regularly denigrates the LGBTQ community in segments about gay people, transgender people, “groomers,” and his most recent target, “drag queen story hours.”
According to veteran journalist and SiriusXM Progress host Michelangelo Signorile, who is calling it “beyond horrific to think a gay man has helped to shape and widely disseminate a message of hate against LGBTQ people,” his senior executive producer, who manages Carlson’s media empire at Fox News, is a married, out, gay man named Justin Wells.
The head of the so-called “Gays Against Groomers,” who told Fox News viewers that the attack on LGBTQ people at a gay bar in Colorado Springs was “predictable,” was a guest on Carlson’s show last week in the wake of the horrifying anti-LGBTQ hate crime mass shooting. He warned that these hate crime massacres will continue “until we end this evil agenda” of gender-affirming care.
The founder of Gays Against Groomers, Jaimee Mitchell, has frequently appeared on Carlson’s show with the apparent approval of Wells, who, according to Signorile, “helped propagate the kind of hate that leads to violence.”
Without significant support from Justin, it’s doubtful that any narrative would be broadcast by Tucker, according to Media Matters President and CEO Angelo Carusone, who spoke to Signorile.
In fact, Signorile stated in reference to the massacre in Colorado Springs that it took place in “the same kind of nightclub at which Wells, in years past, danced the night away in Miami Beach and elsewhere, liberating himself from the world outside and undoubtedly never imagining he’d be shot dead.”
Signorile claims that “Wells runs the entire Tucker Carlson operation, and is responsible for imprinting the Tucker Carlson brand, which is all about emboldening white heterosexual male grievance, furthering the racist conspiracy of “replacement theory,” and pushing an increasingly virulent anti-LGBTQ agenda. “Now he’s helped the extremists who deny that sense of safety and liberation to every future generation of queer people,” she says.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is one of Carlson’s many LGBTQ targets; according to Mediaite, he has called Buttigieg a “unqualified ‘kid’ who ‘breastfeeds,’ and has no business running the agency.”
According to Signorile, “Wells, in 2021, was named a Vice President at Fox News, in charge of all Carlson product that airs on Fox News TV as well as on Fox’s streaming network, Fox Nation,” as Carlson “further pushed white nationalism, attacked transgender people, and embraced Hungary’s authoritarian leader Victor Orban.”
It’s quite astonishing that Wells would work for Carlson, who has a well-documented history of visceral homophobia, according to Signorile. That’s something that came to light again last year when it became known that Carlson had offered a tribute to Dan White, the assassin of San Francisco supervisor and gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk, in his college yearbook back in 1991, as well as to the late vociferously anti-gay Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who whipped up homophobia during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.”
He continues, “I wrote about those shocking revelations when they came to light last year, as well as about what I called Carlson’s ‘pathological obsession with homosexuality’ throughout his career. Carlson has expressed disgust for homosexuality and, in one instance, has taken pleasure in a violent reaction. He admitted to smashing a man’s head “against the stall” in a public restroom after the man “bothered” him in a TV interview from 2007
Wells only gives Carlson more confidence because he is gay, says Signorile. “He permits him to make the despicable accusations and aids Carlson in legitimizing the hate speech he espouses for himself. As the influential gay man behind Tucker Carlson, Justin Wells’ existence is all the more noteworthy in light of this. Also, all the more dangerous.”
Signorile notes that his reporting is not an outing.
“This story is not, however, about a warped closet case, tormented by self-loathing, hiding his true self while bashing those like him. And thus, this story is not an outing, which involves exposing someone who covers up their sexual orientation while publicly presenting as heterosexual — though it certainly may be a startling revelation to a great many. It is, rather, about connecting the dots regarding a reality that seems to have been hiding in plain sight.”