Last week, Dutch historian and author Rutger Bregman claimed he was cursed out by Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a segment that would likely never air. On Wednesday afternoon, audio of Carlson’s on-air meltdown finally emerged.
“Why don’t you go fuck yourself,” Carlson can be heard yelling at Bregman as the pre-taped segment went completely off the rails. “You tiny brain… moron.”
Bregman became a viral sensation late last month after going off-script during an appearance at the World Economic Forum at Davos, telling the billionaires in attendance that they should stop avoiding paying taxes.
The Utopia for Realists author was invited to appear on Carlson’s show for a presumably favorable interview, seeing as the Fox News primetime star has recently rebranded himself (albeit questionably) as a Trumpian economic populist who praises Bernie Sanders on income-inequality while also spouting white-nationalist-friendly rants on immigration.
The pair sat down on Feb. 11, with Bregman appearing via satellite from Amsterdam, and while the conversation started out as friendly, it ultimately turned into a full-on meltdown after the historian directly bashed Fox News.
The leaked footage of the unaired segment, obtained by NowThis News, was pieced together using the satellite studio video of Bregman speaking. Carlson only appears via the audio input from New York.
The Fox host began the interview by playing the viral tax clip, giddily introducing Bregman by noting he would tip his hat at the historian for the Davos moment if he could.
As Bregman explained how he was simply echoing how most polling suggests a majority of Americans approve of higher taxes on the rich, he slipped in a jab at Carlson’s employer: “No one’s saying it at Davos, just as no one’s saying it on Fox News, right? And I think the explanation for that is quite simple—is that most of the people in Davos, but also here on this channel, have been bought by the billionaire class. You know? You’re not meant to say these things, so I just sat there and thought, you know what, I’m just gonna say it, just as I’m saying it right here on this channel.”
Carlson seemingly ignored the Fox-related comments, and noted that “many people have called for higher taxes,” which prompted an amused Bregman to interrupt: “Well, not on this channel. Almost all of the pundits on this channel, for years, have been against higher taxes, right? Even though the vast majority of Americans is in favor of it.”
A slightly bemused Carlson replied that “it would be interesting to know how many hours of Fox you’ve watched,” before pivoting back to the conversation about assuring that billionaires pay their taxes.
Eventually Bregman said to the pro-Trump host: “The thing is, you guys have brought into power a president who doesn’t even want to show his own tax returns. Who knows how many billions he has hidden in the Cayman Islands or in Bermuda. So I think the issue really is one of corruption.”
And then he brought up Carlson’s Fox bosses once again: “What the Murdochs basically want you to do is to scapegoat immigrants instead of talking about tax avoidance. So I’m glad you’re now finally raising the issue, but that’s what’s been happening for the past couple of years.”
“I’m taking orders from the Murdochs, is that what you’re saying?” Carlson replied, growing audibly irritated.
“No, it doesn’t work that directly,” the historian answered.
“Wait, why don’t you tell me how it does work?” the Fox host asked, now shouting.
“It works by you taking their dirty money,” Bregman replied. “You are a millionaire funded by billionaires, that’s what you are. And I’m glad you now finally jumped the bandwagon of people like Bernie Sanders and AOC, but you’re not part of the solution, Mr. Carlson. You’re part of the problem, actually.”
And then began Carlson’s meltdown.
When Bregman claimed that “all the anchors on Fox, they’re all millionaires,” Carlson began yelling: “Fox doesn’t even play where you are.”
“Well, have you heard of the internet?” Bregman joked, while Carlson continued to yell on the other end. “I can watch things, whatever I want.”
Bregman then continued: “You’re probably not going to air this, but I went to Davos to speak truth to power and I’m doing exactly the same thing right now. You might not like it, but you’re a millionaire funded by billionaires. And that’s the reason you’re not talking about these issues.”
“But I am talking about these issues,” Carlson shot back.
“Yeah, only now,” the historian said. “You jumped the bandwagon. You’re all like, oh, I’m against the globalist elite, blah, blah, blah. It’s not very convincing, to be honest.”
“I want to say to you, why don’t you go fuck yourself, you tiny brain,” Carlson roared. “And I hope this gets picked up because you’re a moron. I tried to give you a hearing, but you were too fucking annoying.”
“You can’t handle the criticism, can you?” Bregman quipped at the end of the footage.
The segment, as Bregman predicted, did not air.
UPDATE: On Thursday evening, following Carlson’s live broadcast, Fox News published an online-only segment in which he simultaneously apologized for and defended his profane rant against Bregman.