The senior executive producer of Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, which makes a habit of demonizing and stirring up hate against LGBTQ people, is an out gay man, according to veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile.
The information is shocking given Carlson's sentiments toward the community ― and particularly in light of the recent violence in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Last week, days after a gunman killed five people at a gay nightclub there, Carlson hosted a guest who founded the so-called "Gays Against Groomers" hate group. The guest, Jaimee Michell, said the Colorado attack was "expected and predictable" and suggested anti-LGBTQ violence would continue "until we end this evil agenda" of gender-affirming care.
The following day, Carlson attacked Democrat Pete Buttigieg for speaking out about the shooting, claiming the transportation secretary "lied" about his sexuality by not coming out publicly earlier.
In recent years, Carlson has pushed false, fearmongering narratives about "groomers," trans people and drag queen story hours, supporting an onslaught of hostile legislation and policies targeting LGBTQ people and embracing harmful tropes that have fueled a spike in harassment, threats and violence against their community. And Carlson's history of homophobia dates back years before that.
Behind Carlson's promotion of that rhetoric on the nation's most-watched TV program is Justin Wells, the senior executive producer of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and vice president of Tucker Carlson Digital Products. According to Wells' website, he leads the entire Tucker Carlson team across platforms.
"It's beyond horrific to think a gay man has helped to shape and widely disseminate a message of hate against LGBTQ people," wrote Signorile, a Sirius XM host, former editor-at-large of HuffPost Gay Voices and inductee into the Association of LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame.
"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."
According to Signorile, Wells has been married to another man for almost a decade, and they openly celebrated their wedding with family and friends.
On his show, Carlson often hosts members of minority groups he reviles ― such as the "Gays Against Groomers" talking head ― who embrace his agenda against their communities. Wells' leadership, Signorile argued, serves only to embolden Carlson further, giving him permission and validation for vilifying LGBTQ people.
Wells did not immediately return a request for comment.
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