Far-right media personalities are grieving the resignation of Blake Neff, a lead writer for Fox News’ Tucker Carlson who quit his job at Fox News after CNN revealed that Neff had authored a slew of racist and sexist comments under a pseudonymous online profile and had used his role at the network to amplify those beliefs.
Reactions from several factions of the modern American far-right movement make clear that Neff’s resignation has been widely received as a loss for their cause; no longer will a writer who advanced their beliefs be able to influence Carlson, who hosts what is currently America’s most popular television news show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.“ Carlson’s program on Fox News has been lauded by far-right activists for airing inflammatory and racist content that is at times nearly identical to the far-right movement’s own propaganda, and President Donald Trump often watches Carlson’s show approvingly, adopting Carlson’s conversation topics as his own.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported Friday that Neff was interacting with forum board posts where racist language, including the n-word, was casually deployed as recently as last week. Neff was reported to be a revered figure on the board, where he repeatedly expressed anti-Black views, made bigoted remarks, and over the course of five years, invited forum users to harass a woman. All the while, Neff worked at The Daily Caller and Fox News. CNN’s Darcy reports:
Neff worked at Fox News for nearly four years and was Carlson’s top writer. Previously, he was a reporter at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. In a recent article in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff said, “Anything [Carlson is] reading off the teleprompter, the first draft was written by me.” He also acknowledged the show’s influence, telling the magazine, “We’re very aware that we do have that power to sway the conversation, so we try to use it responsibly.”
When asked in a 2018 appearance on Fox’s “The Five” about the writing process for his show, Carlson said he spends hours working on scripts, but referred to Neff by name, saying he was a “wonderful writer” and acknowledging his assistance. And Carlson credited Neff in the acknowledgments of his book, “Ship of Fools,” for providing research. In the acknowledgments, Carlson said that Neff and two others who helped with the book “work on and greatly improve our nightly show on Fox.”
In response to CNN’s reporting, Neff resigned from his job at Fox News. Executives at the network circulated an internal memo denouncing Neff’s “horrendous and deeply offensive racist, sexist and homophobic comments.” The memo stated that Carlson was going to address Neff’s resignation on his July 13 show.
New: Fox News executives issue internal memo condemning the “horrific” behavior of former top Tucker Carlson writer Blake Neff. pic.twitter.com/QoKDN4S9rD
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 11, 2020
Neff, who has authored more than 2,000 articles for the Daily Caller, joins nearly a dozen former Daily Caller associates who have been exposed for holding racist and bigoted views. Three such former associates of the Daily Caller, white nationalists Scott Greer and Jason Kessler and far-right friendly Ashley Goldenberg, came to Neff’s defense after news of his resignation and Fox News’ denunciation circulated on Twitter.
Greer, a former editor and columnist at the Daily Caller who The Atlantic revealed had authored articles for alt-right poster boy Richard Spencer’s outlet Radix Journal, spun Neff’s resignation as a type of “cancel culture” that mainstream conservatives often criticize, asking: “Are any of the conservatives who’ve cried about cancel culture defending Blake Neff?” Kessler, who organized the Unite the Right white supremacist gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., claimed that Fox News was going to make Carlson “bend the knee” by addressing Neff’s resignation on air Monday and that executives “don’t care if they break [the knee] in the process.” Goldenberg, who once interned at the Daily Caller and this year lost a job at Capital Research Center after a Right Wing Watch investigation exposed her connections to far-right activists, criticized Fox News for condemning Neff’s comments.
“In case it needs to be said again: the leadership at Fox News are losers for attacking Blake Neff. Their statement adds insult to injury. They didn’t have to say anything. But instead, they issued a statement throwing the top writer for their top show under the bus. For what?” Goldenberg wrote.
Neff’s resignation was also lamented among the furthest extremes of the far-right, which has operated for years believing that Carlson shares their views. (Two of the white nationalist movement’s most popular podcast hosts, Joseph Jordan and Mike Peinovich, have said that Carlson repeats their talking points “for an audience of millions across the country.”)
The Daily Stormer, an infamous neo-Nazi blog, put it most directly in an article chiding Neff directly for posting offensive comments on the forum in a way that allowed his real-life identity to be discovered.
“Neff – you did great work. The most important work of anyone, in fact,” the author, who writes under a pseudonym, wrote. “You just did not take your work seriously enough. This lax attitude harmed Tucker Carlson, and our collective survival agenda.”
Far-right podcast host Ethan Ralph shared a similar sentiment, calling Neff’s ousting a “a media-instigated witch-hunt,” although conceding that Neff “was reckless as FUCK.”
Other far-right figures took to criticizing Fox News’ reaction to CNN’s reporting.
Bradley Dean Griffin, a white nationalist blogger, wrote in an article that Neff’s resignation showed “mainstream conservatism is a failure.” Lana Lokteff, a media personality at a white nationalist propaganda outlet, defended Neff’s comments as jokes and attacked non-white news personalities who she claims are allowed to “openly hate on Whites.” Nick Fuentes, an anti-Semitic and white nationalist podcast host popular with younger followers of the white nationalist movement, called Fox News’ condemnation of Neff “ridiculous and unnecessary” and claimed the network’s leaders “constantly betray their loyal conservative viewers.”
Media figures allied with the far-right said they were disappointed Neff lost his job and wished him the best. Jon Miller, a former host for Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV, posted on Twitter that Neff was “brilliant” and called Fox News “idiots” for getting rid of him. Miller has adamantly defended VDARE, a white nationalist organization.
“This is not good for my career, but Blake Neff is responsible for some of the most beautiful monologues that ever aired on your network, helping create the most successful cable personality ever. And you’re just gonna can him? You guys are idiots,” Miller wrote.
Cassandra Fairbanks, a contributor for The Gateway Pundit, said she hopes Neff is hired at a new job. “Don’t be as stupid as Fox was,” she wrote. “That man can write. Tucker is the number one cable news show for a reason.”