Stephen A. Smith refuses to go on Tucker Carlson's show

Stephen A. Smith responded to surprise over his Clay Travis interview by attempting to prove he is willing to speak with almost anyone and everyone.

Travis was the latest guest on Smith’s Know Mercy Audacy/Cadence13 podcast, a wide-ranging interview that touched on building OutKick, succeeding Rush Limbaugh, cancel culture, and a myriad of political and social topics. Despite being socially liberal, Smith has not shied away from frequenting Fox News programs or broadcasting his friendship with Sean Hannity. To Smith, bringing Travis, who might be ESPN’s public enemy number one, onto his podcast, was no different.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Clay Travis,” Smith admitted on his Wednesday episode of Know Mercy. “He has his opinions, I have mine. He expressed them cogently with clarity, you can agree or disagree. I have my opinions. That’s what makes the world go round. That’s what Know Mercy is about.”

Smith issued a warning to anyone who took exception with him welcoming Travis to his podcast; more conservative guests are coming.

“I talk to everybody,” Smith said. “I don’t agree with a lot of people or a lot of things that people say, I don’t believe that’s a reason to hate them anymore than I want that to be a reason for them to hate me…Sean Hannity was on this show. Hopefully, Candace Owens will be on this show. So you’re damn right I was gonna have Clay Travis on. And all the liberals and all the conservatives, any of them that people want to hear from.”

Even though Smith already had Hannity on his podcast, Travis was a more surprising interview than most conservative guest candidates. Not because people fear diversity of thought and Travis hosts a conservative radio show, but because he built a platform, in OutKick, that regularly attacks ESPN. Diversity of thought can be productive, but promoting an interview with someone who attempts to damage your primary employer is certainly a controversial decision. But Smith sought to prove there are no boundaries to who he’s willing to interview on his podcast, which is not affiliated with ESPN.

“I can sit down and talk to the Ku Klux Klan, for interview purposes,” Smith added. “That’s how things move forward in this world when you force people to have a conversation.”

Despite claiming he’s willing to speak with the KKK, Smith later drew a line at Tucker Carlson’s prime-time Fox News show. While discussing Fox News recently settling with Dominion Voting Systems, paying more than $787 million to avoid a defamation trial after the network promoted 2020 election conspiracies, Smith noted his dislike for Carlson.

“I refuse to go on Tucker Carlson’s show,” Smith said. “I just don’t like the things that he does. There’s just certain things and there’s a smugness to it as well. Just, ugh. I’m not surprised that his name is all over this.”

Smith did not say he would refuse to interview Carlson on his podcast. There is a distinguished difference between interviewing someone and being interviewed. It’s possible that Smith wouldn’t trust Carlson with editorial control of their conversation, but could still be willing to conduct the interview himself on his Know Mercy podcast. Still, Smith admitting he would interview the Ku Klux Klan before getting interviewed by Tucker Carlson speaks volumes about the way he feels about the controversial Fox News host.

This is not the first time Smith called out Carlson, proving there is a line to his long list of media appearances. Last month, Smith slammed Carlson’s manipulative Jan. 6 coverage. And two years ago, he blasted the Fox News personality for suggesting Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd because the jurors were afraid of what would happen otherwise.

[Know Mercy]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to