NEW YORK (AP) – Maybe the trout will be running this week for Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Either way, the vacation he announced on Monday and says was planned in advance should be familiar to Fox viewers who are used to seeing its personalities go away to cool off when the heat is on. Before leaving, he spoke to his fans about his show’s former top writer, who resigned after CNN found he had written a series of racist and repugnant tweets under a pseudonym.
His fishing trip is at least the sixth example in a little more than three years of a Fox star’s vacation in close proximity to a controversy about their work.
In only one case – Bill Oâ€™Reillyâ€™s trip to Europe following reports of sexual misconduct settlements with women – did the vacation become permanent.
Carlson said that the online comments by former writer Blake Neff were wrong, but had nothing to do with his show. He also criticized the â€œghouls beating their chests in triumph at the destruction of a young man.”
Then he said he was going to spend the next four days trout fishing. Brian Kilmeade will fill in.
â€œLong planned, this is one of those years where if you don’t get it in now, you are probably not going to,â€ Carlson said.
A Fox representative confirmed the vacation was planned before the Neff story broke.
A devoted angler, Carlson last August said he was â€œheaded to the wildernessâ€ to fish with his son after addressing criticism of his comments that white supremacy was not a problem in the United States.
That vacation drew a ribbing from Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah.
â€œThe timing seems suspicious, but who knows – maybe lots of people leave for fishing vacations on Wednesday night at 9 p.m.,â€ Noah said on â€œThe Daily Show.â€
Laura Ingraham left for what was described as â€œa pre-planned vacation with her kidsâ€ in 2018 during an advertiser backlash to her comments mocking a Parkland school shooting survivor.
Jesse Watters departed on a brief insta-vacation with his family in 2017 when he was criticized for comments about Ivanka Trump that some critics saw as lewd. Sean Hannity had a lengthy Memorial Day break in 2017 when facing some advertiser restiveness about his promotion of a discredited theory about the death of a Democratic party operative. He addressed suspicions about the timing by saying it was an annual break.
O’Reilly said he was looking forward to a breather around the time his name was in the headlines in the spring of 2017.
â€œI grab some vacation because it’s spring and it’s Easter time,â€ he said on the air. â€œLast fall I booked a trip that should be terrific.â€
He promised to tell viewers all about it when he got back.
No such luck. He was fired the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis.
Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this story.