Earlier this month, Boeing communications chief Niel Golightly was forced to resign after an employee complained about an article the former U.S. military pilot wrote 33 years ago arguing women should not serve in combat. New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet lost his job for publishing the opinion of a sitting U.S. senator.
Google employees lobbied to remove Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James from its AI ethics board and were so successful they canceled the entire board. NBC tried — and failed — to use the power of Google Ads to cancel The Federalist.
Clearly, tolerance only applies to one side. And if your opinions happen to have anything to do with President Trump, you’re automatically disqualified. Now, Dr. David Tucker, the son of tenor opera legend Richard Tucker, has become one of the latest victims of the raging cancel mob.
While he wanted to pursue a career in the arts, David’s father insisted he become a doctor. So Tucker obtained a degree from Cornell University’s Medical College, launched his career as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health, and began researching infectious diseases during the Vietnam War. He then entered private practice, where for 27 years he served as director of the Department of Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Jewish Hospital. After retiring in 2004, Tucker served as an assistant clinical professor at the New York University School of Medicine.
Despite his long list of accomplishments in the medical field, one of his proudest roles was serving as a founding board member of his father’s namesake nonprofit, The Richard Tucker Music Foundation. Every year, the foundation gives thousands of dollars to promising up-and-coming American opera singers. Some of that is thanks to Tucker’s contributions. But on July 20, Tucker was canceled from his role on the foundation’s board.
Speaking Out Against Anarchists Can Now Get You Fired
“The Richard Tucker Music Foundation condemns the hurtful and offensive comments made by one of our Board members, David Tucker,” the foundation said in a statement. “David has been removed from the Richard Tucker Foundation Board of Directors, effective immediately.”
What was Tucker’s offense? Supporting the Trump administration’s use of federal officers to crack down on violent rioters who at the time overwhelmed the city of Portland for more than 50 consecutive days.
“Good. Get rid of these thugs and I don’t care where you send them,” Tucker wrote from his private Facebook account in response to a Washington Post story shared by Julia Bullock, a black soprano. “They are a Pox on our society.” Tucker later followed up:
The real violence is with many of the so-called peaceful protesters. Occurring in many of the Dem controlled cities. About time someone tough will try to crush the mob before they destroy and kill more innocent people. Bravo to Trump to send in Federal troops. Unfortunately, the police have been castrated by the Left leaders. Get them out of here and ship them out! We need law for justice and peace in our streets.
In response, some people complained about Tucker’s “extreme position” and accused the Jewish doctor of racist rhetoric and “talking like a Nazi.” Bullock described his remarks as “violent and racist.” Now it wasn’t just Tucker—the entire foundation was under attack.
“It’s unfortunate to read these comments but not at all surprising,” wrote Russell Thomas, a black tenor who won the foundation’s career grant in 2010. “This perhaps explains why in its 40+ year history only one black person has won the Tucker award.”
Lawrence Brownlee, who in 2006 became the foundation’s first black winner of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, piled on, posting about the “painful, racist rhetoric perpetrated by a board member,” adding, “This language was deeply disappointing and personally hurtful, and it casts a shadow on the legacy of the foundation itself … we have an obligation to be clear about language that is demonstrably racist and perpetuates the problematic, systemic oppression that we seek to eradicate from our field and the world.”
Using Race to Magnify Outrage
Tucker responded, rejecting the accusation his remarks had anything to do with race. “Pulling the race card is another convenient excuse to modify excellent standards of vocal artistry,” he said. “I am always impressed with the fairness of the panel of judges to pick a legitimate winner for the Richard Tucker Award. The Tucker family is certainly proud of this Foundation and how it has helped bring wonderful talent to the world of opera.”
But the cancellation was underway. One Facebook commenter shared the address and phone number of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and its board chairman so the mob could more efficiently cancel Tucker.
In response, the board first called Tucker and asked him to resign. Tucker replied that nothing he said was racist and that resigning would be an act of apology. He was not sorry for privately complaining about violence breaking out on the streets. So, on July 20, the board of his father’s namesake foundation fired him — via email.
“I didn’t label anyone with color,” Tucker notes. “I said the people who are destroying monuments and property, in my opinion, are thugs and the federal troops ought to get them out of here. I meant out of Portland and away from the federal courthouse.”
The reason he used the term “pox,” Tucker explained, is because it’s a medical term. “I am a doctor,” he said. “To me, a pox is a stain. And to me, this kind of anarchy and violence is a stain.”
Tucker said he nor the board have anything to do with picking the winners of its grants and awards. Each year, Tucker explained, an independent panel of judges chooses the winners. Over the years, the foundation says more than a dozen black artists have received its grants and honors. It didn’t matter.
On cue, The New York Times published a story headlined, “Opera Foundation Removes Trustee Over Offensive Comments.” Reporter Sarah Bahr forgot the most basic rule of journalism. Despite Tucker being the central subject of the story, the Times didn’t bother reaching out to him for comment.
“I guess my comments would not fit the narrative that they wanted to reach the public with,” Tucker said in an interview. “The truth, many times, is forgotten in order to play to the agitators.”
Chilling All Dissent
Losing his spot on his family foundation’s board for expressing opinions that more than half the country holds is hardly unique, and the media coverage made his cancellation all the more painful. “Why did they have to go national with it and scapegoat me?” Tucker asked.
Standing up for people unjustly accused sadly requires a great deal of courage today — something people in powerful positions too often lack. Tucker’s board members likely figured that if they defended him, they might get canceled, too. So they enabled the vicious cycle to go on.
A recent Cato Institute poll found that 50 percent of strong liberals support firing Trump donors. Tucker’s humiliating story reflects that. The same poll found 62 percent of Americans have political views they’re afraid to share, a fear that crosses party lines — a majority of Democrats (52 percent), independents (59 percent), and Republicans (77 percent) all say they feel they have to censor themselves.
In today’s culture, if you say the wrong thing, you risk losing friends and getting fired. Making matters worse, in the Black Lives Matter era, the new standard is this: speak out against anarchy, and you’re a racist. Speak out against violent rioters using power tools to saw through a fence protecting federal property and attacking officers with mortar-style fireworks and lasers, and risk losing your job. In cases similar to that of Dr. Tucker, you risk losing your character as well.
“I want people to understand my story, who the real David Tucker is, how he loved and respected his mother and father, how and he tried to lead the best life possible,” Tucker says. “I’m not a saint, but I’ve tried to lead my personal and professional life in a way I would be proud of. All of us have made mistakes but I’ve tried to make the world a better place. I don’t think riots and killings and taking down all kinds of monuments and attacking free speech is a way to live a good life.”
If grievance mobs can cancel the son of a famed opera singer who has given substantial support to young American artists from all backgrounds for the “crime” of denouncing anarchy, no one is safe. While Tucker has the courage to stand up for himself and, as a 76-year-old retiree has no job to lose, how many Americans can afford to do the same?