Tucker Carlson and False Rape Accusations

CNN’s Tucker Carlson recently wrote a book, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites, which includes an account of Carlson being falsely accused of raping a woman. Carlson’s reaction to the false accusation is illustrative of how even a patently false accusation can potentially ruin a man’s life, especially thanks to the nonsense touted by advocates that such false accusations are so rare as to be negligible.

Tucker writes about learning of the accusation,

For an hour I sat on the front steps thinking about my life, my wife and my three children, my job, and how it was all going to end because of something terrible I didn’t even remember doing.

In the end, Carlson spent thousands of dollars defending himself against the accusation. Fortunately for him it turned out that the woman who had accused him was not only had a chronic mental disorder, but she accused Carlson of raping her in a city that Carlson had never even visited.

The sad part is that Carlson not only felt he couldn’t talk about the accusation, but also did not take legal action against the woman’s lawyer because of the effect that even word of a false accusation might have on his career. As Carlson admits,

I always assumed, like every other journalist does, that all sex scandals are rooted in truth, period. You may not have done precisely what you’re accused of, but you did something.

Carlson is quite correct that this is the stigma attached to even false rape accusations. Another conservative journalist, John Fund, has seen his career derailed after also being falsely accused of assault by a mentally unstable woman.

Unlike Carlson, Fund was unable to keep the accusation from hitting the press, and his career has suffered notably from it.

An important, and still unresolved, question is just how common are false accusations of rape. On the one hand are the radical feminists who repeat the claim that making a rape accusation is so serious that women rarely lie about it. They typically use Susan Brownmiller’s claim that only two percent of reported rapes are false, although they rarely point out that there is a paucity of evidence to back up this claim.

In a column about the Kobe Bryant case, Wendy McElroy pointed to a study by a Purdue researcher who examined reported rapes at a Midwestern city from 1978 to 1987 and found that fully 41 percent of all reported rapes were later determined by police to be false accusations.


‘Crossfire’ Co-Host Dishes Liberally. Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, July 16, 2003.

False Rape Charges Hurt Real Victims. Wendy McElroy, iFeminists.Com, July 22, 2003.

An alarming national trend:
False Rape Allegations
. Eugene J. Kanin.

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