S.F.’s Harvey Milk Democratic Club has two words for Tucker Carlson

Tony Bravo April 25, 2021 Updated: April 26, 2021 (SFChronicle.com)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson had reportedly listed himself as a member of the “Dan White Society” in his 1991 yearbook.Photo: Fox News

San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Democratic Club issued a short response to Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, after it was revealed last week that he listed himself as a member of the Dan White Society in his 1991 yearbook from Connecticut’s Trinity College.

The response: “F— you.”

Dan White is the former San Francisco supervisor who killed Supervisor Milk and Mayor George Moscone. The note, posted on Twitter on Saturday, April 24, on club letterhead, was addressed to Carlson with the subject line, “RE: Your membership in the Dan White Society, and exaltation of the murder of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California and our club’s name sake.”

“It is both heinous and unsurprising that Tucker Carlson found a common cause with Dan White,” Edward Wright, the club’s co-president, wrote to The Chronicle via email. “Carlson has made a career out of trafficking in the same privileged and reactionary sense of victimhood that led White to (the) murder of Harvey Milk and George Moscone.”

The group was founded in 1976 as the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club and was the city’s first Democratic club with the word “gay” in its name. The club is among the larger political groups in San Francisco and was renamed for Milk after his assassination.

“From championing the white nationalist ‘replacement theory,’ dehumanizing trans people, exalting police brutality, and vilifying social and cultural diversity, Carlson’s rhetoric and White’s violence are fruits of the same poisonous tree,” Wright wrote. “Their culture war has a body count.”

Did Fox News host Tucker Carlson name-drop Harvey Milk’s killer in his yearbook?

Perhaps this is the story that @TuckerCarlson was trying to get ahead of. In his college yearbook, he listed himself as a member of the “Dan White Society.”

Dan White was the man who murdered Harvey Milk. pic.twitter.com/TYklyfC8tS

— Travis Akers (@travisakers) April 21, 2021

The yearbook screenshot was tweeted on Wednesday, April 21, by freelance journalist Travis Akers and has since been retweeted more than 19,000 times.

On the Tuesday, April 20, episode of Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the host spoke out against Washington Post media columnist Erik Wemple for allegedly contacting Carlson’s college acquaintances and looking into his background. Carlson said that Wemple had pulled his college yearbook and called his classmates to “see if we’d done anything naughty at the age of 19.”

The next day, Wemple published a piece that was critical of Carlson’s on-air statements after the guilty verdicts of former police Officer Derek Chauvin in his trial for the killing of George Floyd.

A viral clip from the Tuesday episode showed Carlson laughing at guest Ed Gavin, a former corrections officer from New York City, after Gavin called Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd “excessive.”

Carlson has drawn criticism online after a screenshot of his 1991 college yearbook affiliated him with a Dan White Society, which shares the name of the former San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978.Photo: Richard Drew, Associated Press

Aker’s tweet also referenced Wemple, saying: “Perhaps this is the story that @TuckerCarlson was trying to get ahead of. In his college yearbook, he listed himself as a member of the ‘Dan White Society.’ Dan White was the man who murdered Harvey Milk.”

Although it is not known for certain if the Dan White referenced in Carlson’s yearbook is the former San Francisco supervisor and police officer who assassinated Milk and Moscone in 1978, many Twitter users agreed with Akers’ assessment and criticized the television host. Among those weighing in were comedian Billy Eichnerformer Navy Secretary Mabus and Republican group the Lincoln Project.

“Dan White was an assassin who murdered the mayor of San Francisco and a San Francisco city supervisor in cold blood,” LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones, who was a friend and community organizer with Milk, told The Chronicle.

He said of Carlson: “I just can’t wrap my mind around the depth of his depravity.”

Harvey Milk during his run for a seat in the state Assembly in May 1976.Photo: Gary Fong, The Chronicle

On Saturday, April 24, CNN anchor Jim Acosta called Carlson “Fox’s chief white power correspondent” on air and criticized his “toxic” denial of systemic racism on the conservative network. Carlson has also repeatedly come under fire with allegations of homophobic remarks, including a 2007 appearance on MSNBC where he alleged a gay man “bothered” him in a restroom when he was a high school student in Washington, D.C.

Carlson went on to say that he “went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the — you know — and grabbed him and hit him against the stall with his head, actually. And then the cops came and arrested him.” In 2019, Media Matters for America compiled audio of Carlson’s appearances on the “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio show between 2006 and 2011, where he used racist, sexist and homophobic language, including the word “fag.”

Carlson has been the subject of at least three major boycotts since 2018 over comments he has made that have been characterized as racist, sexist and anti-immigrant. In 2020, after the host called Black Lives Matter demonstrators “criminal mobs,” advertisers including the Walt Disney Co. and Sandals pulled commercials from Carlson’s show.

Fox News has not responded to The Chronicle’s requests for comment.

  • Tony BravoTony Bravo is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: tbravo@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @TonyBravoSF

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