Fox News host Tucker Carlson shredded civil rights attorney Brian Claypool in a debate regarding the freedom of private conversations Friday night. Carlson alleges Claypool holds fascist ideals for supporting the targeting of individuals who are exposed from their private conversations because others might find it offensive.
The debate was in reference to an incident that occurred with liberal feminist actress Lena Dunham and American Airlines.
Outspoken actress Lena Dunham claimed Thursday that she overheard two flight attendants from American Airlines saying hurtful things about transgender children while her flight was delayed at JFK International Airport.
She then took to Twitter to broadcast the attendants’ apparent discussion and to implore American Airlines to do something about it: “Not gonna call out the airline who delayed cuz shit happens BUT I did just overhear 2 @AmericanAir attendants having a transphobic talk.”
She then messaged the airline directly.
“Hi! I heard two female attendants walking talking about how trans kid are a trend they’d never accept a trans child and transness is gross. I think it reflects badly on uninformed employees of your company to have that kind of dialogue going on. What if a trans teen was walking behind them? Awareness starts at home but jobs can set standards for practice. Thanks for your consideration!”
The airline promptly responded via Twitter messaging: “Do you know which gate this was at?”
When she told them, they responded: “Thanks for the info Lena. We are passing this along for our team to review.”
“From the team members we hire to the customers we serve, inclusion and diversity is a way of life at American Airlines,” the airline said in a statement. “Every day, our team members work to make American a place where people of all generations, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations and backgrounds feel welcome and valued.”
But in an interview with Fox News on Friday, a spokesperson for the company said they had yet to “substantiate” Dunham’s story: “We always look into complaints from customers, but at this time, we are unable to substantiate these allegations.”
Further investigation by ABC revealed Dunham appeared to have taken a flight on Delta Air Lines out of Terminal 4 at JFK airport in New York. American Airlines reportedly operates out of the airport’s Terminal 8.
Dunham’s subsequent comments about her “takeaway” from the incident were very strange, as well. “For those who followed my airport saga yesterday, here’s my takeaway: these days it’s the little things. A smile. Offering a seat. Respect. We can’t afford to treat each other like cattle when we have a government that does,” she wrote in another tweet that has apparently since been deleted but was reported upon by ABC News. “Being trapped at the airport filled me with love!”
Carlson’s take on the situation is that individuals who get employees into trouble for these reasons are “fascists.”
In retrospect, Claypool argued that American Airlines should discipline their employees over transphobia, claiming the reported (yet unsubstantiated) hate speech was “discriminating” against transgendered people.
Tucker was not buying this explanation though, and even promptly labeled Claypool a “fascist” for advocating prohibition on the expression of differing viewpoints held in “private conversations.”
“These are two people talking to each other in private,” Tucker said. “This is an opinion, and I grew up in a country where you can have opinions that maybe you didn’t agree with but I can still not be punished for that.” Carlson even suggests the civil rights attorney probably held a private conversation that he wouldn’t want to be made public knowledge.
Claypool acknowledged that he had, but then offered a lame duck explanation as to why it was justified: “Yes I have. But I did it in my home.”
Carlson retorts back to Claypool that private conversations, whether held in a public place or behind closed doors, are simply private conversations and cannot be ridiculed.
“They were walking and talking to each other,” Carlson said of the airline staff members targeted by Dunham. “You’re saying ‘You’re not allowed to have your own views or we’re going to hurt you.’ And what I’m saying is I will fight you on that. When you tell me I’m not allowed to think certain things that’s too far. This is America, man!”
In terms of the authenticity of the tale, this wouldn’t be the first time Dunham has fabricated a story. In July, claims the actress made that a dog she had put down had been abused by previous owners were voraciously refuted by the pet shelter. A representative told Yahoo they “did not know where she got” the claim from.
See the explosive interview between Carlson and Claypool below:
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