NEW YORK -- A woman involved in a heated debate with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson over Ivanka Trump said Tuesday she’s received thousands of angry responses, including being threatened with rape on Christmas Day.
The reaction to Lauren Duca, a writer for Teen Vogue magazine, is the latest example of how ugliness in political discourse didn’t end with the election. Duca has been sharing several of the responses to her television appearance on social media.
She was a guest on Carlson’s show Friday to discuss an incident where Donald Trump’s daughter was verbally accosted while traveling on an airplane with her family. Duca had tweeted that Ivanka Trump’s role in the incoming administration was fair game for discussion.
The segment was knocked off-kilter, however, when Duca agreed with Carlson that it was wrong for Ivanka Trump to be confronted on an airplane. Carlson had been prepared to question Duca about her tweet and other things she had written that had been critical of Donald Trump.
The two went toe-to-toe in what became gripping television, with Duca at one point calling Carlson a “partisan hack” intent on not allowing her to speak. Carlson, making reference to pop culture stories Duca had also written, ended the segment by saying Duca should “stick to the thigh-high boots. You’re better at that.”
Duca said she was “shell-shocked” after the interview but also proud. She found it frustrating to be involved in just the sort of discussion she found infuriating during the presidential campaign, with people who seemed to be talking past each other.
Then the online attacks began, many too lewd to repeat. She saw an online discussion board created to encourage people “to harass me until I have a mental breakdown or go into porn.”
Duca shared some of them on Twitter.
She said she responded to one person, asking whether it felt odd to attack a stranger on Christmas Day.
“He wrote back saying ‘get raped,’ so that didn’t work,” she said.
Her phone appeared to have a life of its own on Christmas. “It was like it was having a seizure in the corner and I would go look at it every couple of hours,” she said.
Duca said she found it discouraging that many people accused her of defending the person who accosted Ivanka Trump, when she clearly did not. The headline on a story about the incident in The Daily Caller, a website co-founded by Carlson in 2010, said “Tucker Carlson embarrasses feminist who defended harassing Ivanka.”
There was no immediate comment from Fox.
Duca has also been re-tweeting several of the messages she’s received, even with a twist of humor: correcting the grammar, for instance, of someone who wrote “your a scumbag whore.”
As a woman online, she said she’s experienced sexist attacks before, but never on this level. “It feels Victorian,” she said. “It’s very bizarre to experience this firsthand.”
She also said she’s been encouraged by positive responses from people like Larry Wilmore and writers she admires. One person wrote to say that her teenage daughter called her a “hero” for how she responded in the interview. She intends to write back to a person who identified herself as a Trump supporter but liked what she did in the interview.
Her Twitter following had doubled to more than 104,000 by Tuesday afternoon. She had a similar burst of attention earlier this month after a Teen Vogue article that accused Trump of lying.
“I feel like I have to weather this,” she said. “The goal is to silence me, and I can’t let them silence me.”