Carlson told his audience of millions the newspaper was working on a story ‘about where my family and I live’. He also called reporter Murray Carpenter ‘a political activist’
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A photojournalist said he hid in fear in his own home, locking himself in an upstairs room with his family, after people tried to break in when he was named on air by the Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Freelance photographer Tristan Spinski was working on an as yet unpublished story for the New York Times about Carlson’s life in Maine, where he spends summers, when the presenter named him and reporter Murray Carpenter on his show on the night of 20 July.
Carlson told his audience of millions the newspaper was working on a story “about where my family and I live”. He also called Carpenter “a political activist”.
According to a chilling 911 transcript published by the Washington Post, within about an hour of the broadcast, people came to the door of Spinski’s home in Maine and tried to break in.
In the call, made to Lincoln county at 9.57pm, Spinski’s brother-in-law reports “loud banging noise downstairs and some threats coming to the house recently just in the past hour”.
He adds that they had received a call and a voicemail “saying ‘We know where you live, beware’ and things of that nature”.
When the dispatcher asks about the threats, Spinski’s brother-in-law explains that after the mention by Carlson, Spinski had been “getting threats all night long”.
“We’re currently upstairs but they’re trying to break in downstairs,” he says.
The transcript appears to show Spinski joining the call, saying “there is definitely people on our property” and that they are “locked upstairs in the house”.
He adds: “Yeah, there was a definite … we can feel our house when someone is trying to get into it downstairs. It was significant.”
The New York Times told the Post it had been in discussion with Fox News for “several days” and had “assured them” it did not plan to photograph Carlson’s home or publish his address.
Despite this, Carlson told 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?”
Carlson did not say where either journalist lived. Carpenter, however, also reported being harassed.
The Lincoln county commissioners office confirmed it provided the transcript of the 911 call that was made to its communications centre on 20 July, but said it could not confirm the names of the callers.
Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The New York Times pointed to its comments to the Post.
Spinski also did not immediately return a request to comment. But he has said that since the incident, he has sought to distance himself from the story.
“I’m apolitical in my work, and this has politicised my role in some ways,” he told the Post. “I can’t photog[raph] a story that I’m a part of, if that makes sense.”
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