Fox's Tucker Carlson takes heat for Kenosha commentary

FILE - Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio Thursday, March 2, 2107 in New York. Carlson says The New York Times wants to put his family at risk, and the newspaper says Carlson is knowingly lying. The Fox host accused the newspaper on Monday of preparing a story that will reveal where he lives. While the Times won't say what it is working on, the newspaper said it assured Carlson ahead of time that it would not tell people the location of his homes. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Fox News' Tucker Carlson, no stranger to the hot seat for his commentary, is being criticized for suggesting that no one should be surprised by the killing of two demonstrators during social unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Authorities “stood back and watched Kenosha burn,” he said on Fox News Channel on Wednesday. “So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Illinois resident and police supporter, was taken into custody on suspicion of homicide after the killings of two people involved in unrest following last weekend's police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.

Carlson's commentary drew an angry response online because it was seen as sympathetic to Rittenhouse or offering justification for murder.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted the Fox management “is complicit in Tucker Carlson's racist, murderous rants” if they take no action against him. Author Don Winslow called the comments disgusting.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting, called Carlson a “lunatic who will get people killed. ... You should be removed for the safety of our kids.”

But presidential son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that “the left-wing media is willfully twisting Tucker Carlson's words to smear him. He never endorsed ‘vigilante justice.’ He just pointed out that when ‘leaders’ cede control of our streets to the mob, it leads to heartbreaking consequences.”

Twitter flagged a link in one of Carlson's tweets for sensitive content. Carlson's tweet had quoted words he used on the air.