Has former Fox News TV host Tucker Carlson "broken his silence" on the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in June 2023, warning the world that the organization is opening "a portal to hell"? No, that's not true: A video circulating on social media took Carlson's words about his firing out of context and never showed the host actually saying anything about CERN or the purported portal. Lead Stories found no confirmation on open sources that he spoke on this topic in public in June 2023 or earlier.
The story appeared in a post published on Facebook on June 28, 2023, under the title "'im EXPOSING the whole damn thing before they get to me' with Tucker Carlson." The caption began:
Tucker Carlson has broken his silence on CERN. He claims that they're opening a portal to hell.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Jun 29 16:52:29 2023 UTC)
The 23-minute video, however, did not show Carlson making any of the statements attributed to him. It opened with a fragment of his speech addressing, as the visible banner indicated on the bottom of the screen, his firing from Fox News, not any CERN-related questions. That recording (archived here) was first published on Carlson's Twitter on April 26, 2023. At the 1:55 mark, he indeed says the words reused in the video on Facebook, but makes no references to hell or portals. Here is the full quote, which starts at the 1:47 mark in the video posted to Carlson's Twitter, that includes the a sentence omitted in the social media entry which is the focus of this fact check:
When honest people say what's true, calmly and without embarrassment, they become powerful. At the same time, the liars who've been trying to silence them, shrink, and they become weaker. That's the iron law of the universe. True things prevail.
The rest of the video on Facebook, which consisted predominantly of generic footage from different sources and animation, shifted back and forth between conspiratorial speculations and descriptions of such phenomena as mass, the Higgs boson, or string theory. Ironically, the clip was self-debunking.
At the 12:58 mark, a monotonous voice of an unknown male narrator discussed issues related to CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. The narrator said:
It is crucial to note that extensive scientific research has been conducted to evaluate the safety and feasibility of black hole production at the LHC. The consensus among the scientific community is that the energies reached by the collider are far too low to create black holes that pose any threat.
At the 15:29 mark, the video continued:
Plus, as of right now, the scientists at CERN are far too busy with upgrading the LHC to be creating any black holes or portals to hell.
The video on Facebook was published a day after another episode of Carlson's show, now distributed on his microblog, was published. In the recording that lasts 12 minutes and 27 seconds, the host again makes no mentions of CERN or any portals.
Lead Stories watched other episodes of Carlson's show that aired in June 2023, and none of them discussed or mentioned CERN.
An advanced Google search for the combination of the terms "Tucker Carlson" and "CERN" on the host's former employer's website produced one irrelevant result where "cern" only appeared in a list of organizations and a part of the word "concern" or its derivatives.
A broader search across the web for "Tucker Carlson CERN portal" didn't generate credible or relevant matches either.
A search for the key phrase allegedly said by the former Fox News host only showed duplicates of the claim.
CERN has been a target of conspiracy theorists for a long time. For example, Lead Stories previously wrote that CERN did not admit to communicating with "entities from the other side" and that a claim about the restart of CERN's Large Hadron Collider being capable of "opening portals" or producing a fifth dimension, the Mandela effect or timeline shifts was not supported by known facts.
A lot of speculations about CERN originated from the vague wording once used by former CERN Director of Research and Scientific Computing Sergio Bertolucci who suggested that the LHC may act as a door and that "out of this door might come something, or we send something through it," as cited by the British tech news website The Register. On a different occasion, however, Bertolucci clarified his remarks by adding that the "door" would be open for less than 30 seconds and that the experiment posed "no risk to the stability of our world."