Lisa Durden was fired from her position of adjunct professor at Essex County College on Friday after a heated argument on June 6 with Fox News host Tucker Carlson about an all-Black Memorial Day celebration in New York City. On his show, Carlson made a lackluster attempt to appear as if he were promoting racial equality.
Durden, a producer, filmmaker and media commentator, taught communications and pop culture classes at the college located in New Jersey. She appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to talk about an event hosted by a Black Lives Matter group, which requested that only Blacks attend. Durden did not disclose her affiliation with the college on the show.
Carlson said the event in Brooklyn promoted segregation.
“You can’t control what your race is …” he said to Durden.
“You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter all-Black Memorial Day celebration,” Durden responded.
She continued to explain why she thought an exclusive Black space would be needed, and the debate between she and Carlson became heated.
“In this particular day they said, ‘Stay your asses out; we want to celebrate today. We don’t want anyone going against us, today,’” Durden said.
Carlson responded, “And you can’t celebrate if someone who doesn’t look like you is around? You’re demented, actually. You’re sick. What you’re saying is disgusting. If you were a Nazi, I would be saying the same thing to you. What you’re saying is indistinguishable from what they are saying.”
In a statement sent to NJ.com on Friday regarding Durden’s dismissal, Essex County College President Anthony Munroe said the following:
“The college was immediately inundated with feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a college employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus.”
“I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students… The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.”
Durden was suspended prior to her dismissal. When arriving on campus June 8, she was told she had to cancel classes and report to the Human Resources Department.
In an interview Sunday with Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now,” Durden said her suspension letter did not mention her appearance on Fox News; instead, a human resources representative indicated that was the reason, even though the school wasn’t mentioned during the broadcast.
In April, following Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandals and his ultimate departure from Fox News, Carlson replaced him in the daily 8 p.m. primetime slot with “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Carlson denounced Durden’s comments on his show, including “white privilege card.”
In 2016, he said that anyone who acknowledges that white privilege exists is “by definition, a racist.”
“Anyone who alleges the white privilege is, by definition, a racist,” he said. “I think we can say that and we should say that. That’s not a legitimate form of conversation. That’s tarring an entire group based on the way they look. That’s the definition of racism and I think people should stand up and say that because it’s true.”
But the TV host and Fox News can hardly be considered champions of racial equality and diversity.
Beloved by David Duke and the DailyStormer.com, Tucker Carlson will take O’Reilly’s spot.
Carlson, who was once praised by former KKK grand wizard David Duke for standing up to “Jewish Supremacists,” has been empathetic to the white nationalist position on immigrants.
In March he defended U.S. Congressman Steve King of Iowa’s statement on Twitter, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
King’s comments had drawn anger from Democrats and even from fellow Republicans, but not from Carlson.
“Everything you said, I think, is defensible and probably right,” he said to the congressman on his show.
Racism is apparently engrained in the Fox News culture. More than a dozen current and former employees of color are currently suing the network and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, for racial discrimination, including reporter Kelly Wright.
“Despite his outstanding performance, and because he is Black, Mr. Wright has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer,” according to the lawsuit.
Kelly claims he "has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a 'Jim Crow' — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer.”
In May, Bob Beckel, co-host of Fox’s “The Five,” was fired for discrimination. According to attorney Douglas Wigdor, when a Black IT employee arrived to service Beckel’s computer, the TV co-host “stormed out of his office” and told “our client that he was leaving his office because he is Black,” Wigdor said in a statement.