Using Stochastic Terrorism, Tucker Carlson Terrorized A Freelance Photographer
Freelance photographer Tristan Spinski was working on a story for The New York Times about Tucker Carlson’s life in Maine when the Fox News host suggested to his viewers that the story would out his family’s address — and then Carlson set his audience to work harassing the journalists involved.
- The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple documented the series of events, which includes a 911 call from Spinksi on July 20, the night that “Carlson disclosed on air that the New York Times was working on a story ‘about where my family and I live.’”
- Carlson identified the freelancers working on the story by name: “The paper has assigned a political activist called Murray Carpenter to write a story about where we are now. They’ve hired a photographer called Tristan Spinski to take pictures.”
- According to Wemple, “The Times made clear to Fox News that it wouldn’t dox Carlson in the pending story, either by publishing his address or a photograph of his house,” but the Fox News personality suggested otherwise to his viewers.
- “So how would Murray Carpenter and his photographer, Tristan Spinski, feel if we told you where they live? If we put pictures of their homes on the air?” he said.
- Carlson did not make good on that suggestion, but as Wemple noted, he didn’t need to: “Others picked up where Carlson left off, as reported previously in this blog. The threats against the two freelancers came via email, voice mail, etc.”
- Wemple went on to discuss the 911 call from the night of Carlson’s show.
The 911 transcript adds contour to the story, as it depicts the victims of Carlson’s dangerous speculation trying to make sense of a sudden spurt of hostility at their doorstep on an otherwise quiet summer night. The call arrived at the Lincoln County facility at 9:57 p.m., just about an hour after Carlson’s blast. “It’s been some loud banging noise downstairs and some threats coming to the house recently just in the past hour,” says Spinski’s brother-in-law on the call transcript, which you can read in full here. “I mean there’s the call and the voicemail saying we know where you live, beware and things of that nature.”
- Asked about the threats, Spinski’s brother-in-law says, “Yeah just recently, it’s my brother-in-law is a journalist and a news source posted his name on uh Tucker Carlson show and his address and things of that nature so he has um been getting threats all night long.”
- The freelance photographer also jumps in on the call, telling the dispatcher: “There is definitely people (muffled voices) on our property … Yeah there was a definite, we can feel our house when someone is trying to get into it downstairs. It was significant.”
- Spinski, his wife and his brother-in-law had locked themselves in an upstairs room during the incident, according to the transcript, and at one point, Spinksi tells the dispatcher: “I am not going to poke my head out you know.”
- Wemple reported that Spinski “has stepped back from his work since his unexpected mention on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’” and will not be working on any Carlson projects.
“I’m apolitical in my work, and this has politicized my role in some ways,” he says. “I can’t photog a story that I’m a part of, if that makes sense.”