George Floyd is trending on social media again — and it’s not because someone gave him a heartfelt memorial. Instead, many are expressing their outrage at Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s claim that Floyd was not murdered but rather died of a drug overdose.
Despite the clear video of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and Floyd’s death being ruled a homicide, Carlson said the public was led to believe alternative facts.
“Months later we learned that the story they told us about George Floyd’s death was an utter lie. There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. The autopsy showed that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose, fentanyl, but by that point facts didn’t matter,” Carlson said during his prime-time show on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Carlson made the comments while covering former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. He said he didn’t know exactly what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and he wouldn’t “speculate,” however, he did claim to know how Floyd met his fate. He added the reported cause of Floyd’s death was “a carefully concocted lie” used as a ploy by “Democratic partisans” to gain power.
After noting the tactic “worked flawlessly,” Carlson said Democrats were using the same strategy in Trump’s impeachment trial to sway the public to believe lies about the U.S. Capitol rioters on Jan. 6.
“We do know for certain that the known facts of what happened on January 6 deviate in very important ways from the story they are now telling us, including the story they told us today in the impeachment hearing, and in many places the known facts bear no resemblance to the story they’re telling. They’re just flat-out lying. There’s no question about that,” Carlson said while the words “We’ve seen this false narrative before” were emblazoned across the screen.
Both the Hennepin County Medical Examiner and an independent examiner hired by Floyd’s family found his death was related to Chauvin’s kneeling on his neck. Hennepin County’s report stated Floyd’s cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement [subdural] restraint, and neck compression.” The independent autopsy concluded Floyd’s death was a “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”
While the reports did note fentanyl was in Floyd’s system, it was not listed by either as the cause of death.
It didn’t take long for people to take to social media to note their disgust at Carlson’s remarks. “Tucker Carlson is trash and Fox News needs to be sued into oblivion,” Twitter user @cbouzy wrote. Another user added, “yeah so not sure who needs to hear this but george floyd was murdered and we all saw it happen.”
“Tucker Carlson smeared George Floyd tonight, claiming he ‘almost certainly died of a drug overdose.’ it sickens me that the Floyd family has to endure this depravity, and I hope they sue Tucker & FOX for $3B, which is apparently the only thing that changes their behavior,” Jesse Lehrich tweeted.
“George Floyd was killed twice. First, as Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and then once again as Tucker Carlson blamed George’s death on drug overdose to an audience of millions for 1 minute and thirty two seconds on Fox News last night,” Jeremy Newberger wrote.
Some also called on advertisers to stop doing business with Fox.
“HORRENDOUS: If you’re still advertising on Fox News, you are sponsoring and attaching your brand to conspiracies and racism. Full stop. As Fox rails against Black Lives Matter, let’s see what their major advertisers said about it this summer,” tweeted Sleeping Giants, a campaign aimed at ending racism, bigotry and sexism.
In response to Carlson’s claim that the cause of Floyd’s death was lied about “to upend our society,” one user pointed out while Black Lives Matter indeed fought for Floyd, there were countless murdered Black citizens that also sparked last summer’s unprecedented activism.
“They will never understand this summer wasn’t just about George Floyd. It was about Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson and Tamir Rice and and so many other names I couldn’t fit them in 20 tweets. They don’t remember these deaths but I can’t forget them,” user mort_murphy wrote.
Carlson’s comments came just two days after Chauvin’s defense attorney submitted a motion asking Floyd not be referred to as a “victim” during the trial.