Fox News host Tucker Carlson unintentionally contributed to raising nearly $14,500 (£11,800) for abortion rights on Friday, hours after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade judgement, which affirmed the right to abortion care for the past five decades in America.
As he went on air to criticise companies that decide to pay for employees’ abortion-travel costs and claimed they were “against families”, a screengrab from an older episode of Carlson’s talk show was used to create an NFT (non-fungible token) and was auctioned to raise funds for abortion care.
The screenshot was from the 11 May 2021 episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, where the conservative host questioned senator Ron Johnson about his decision to not receive a Covid-19 vaccine.
During the May interview, Carlson had agreed with Mr Johnson’s views on vaccination and had said: “Well of course, it’s your body, your choice, as we’ve heard for almost 50 years.”
The chyron at the bottom of the TV screen read: “Making an informed choice regarding your own body shouldn’t be controversial.”
The Fox News host has in the past called the 1973 Roe ruling “the most embarrassing court decision handed down in the last century”.
The screengrab was auctioned to anonymous online bidders in the digital space called web3. Bidders offered thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for the NFT created by artist Jenny Holzer, according to The Washington Post.
Ms Holzer said the NFT was sold on Saturday for 12eth, which is estimated to be about $14,500, and the proceedings would be donated to groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and advocacy group PAI.
“The chyron was meant to be read as an anti-vaccine pronouncement, but the words could be a pro-choice statement,” the Jenny Holzer Studio said in a statement on Instagram.
“Bodily autonomy and self-determination can be fraught, but privacy and health are pillars of the women’s reproductive rights movement; the fight over them resulted in the establishment of protection beyond choice.”
Communications strategist Gillian Branstetter had shared the screenshot on Twitter while observing similarities to Ms Holzer’s other work. “This is like a Jenny Holzer installation or something right,” the strategist had tweeted.
Ms Branstetter is expected to receive 15 per cent of the money from the NFT sale, all of which she says will be donated to the DC Abortion Fund.
The NFT was listed at half an eth, estimated to be nearly $600, before bidders raised the price to nearly $13,000. The winning bid of 12eth was made around noon on Saturday.