Twitter Slams The Daily Telegraph For Transgender Slur In Sunday Paper

The LGBTQ+ community and allies have denounced The Sunday Telegraph for their open use of a derogatory anti-transgender slur in a headline in this weekend’s paper.

The headline had been about Scarlett Johansson and her decision to withdraw from the role of a transgender man after intense backlash.

Many criticised Johansson and director Rupert Sanders for the choice of casting and trans performers pointed out they rarely had opportunities to audition for transgender roles in mainstream films.

Game designer, writer, and programmer Sav Ferguson first saw the headline on his Facebook news-feed and immediately posted it to his Twitter account:

Shocked to see such a slur in a paper, Ferguson initially thought the headline was fake until he found more evidence of it on Twitter:

Numerous voices in the LGBTQ+ community and media industry have publicly slammed the headline and newspaper, demanding answers as to how the slur was even published in the first place.

After seeing the headline, Australian actor and writer Harry Cook made a formal complaint to the Australian Press Council.

Prominent Australian writer Benjamin Law labelled the headline “truly vile.” 

“If you work in a media culture that thinks this is fine and dismisses anger over this as hypersensitivity, you work in a place that regards some people as less than human.” Executive Director Sally Rugg also denounced the headline writing:

“There are words so poisonous with historical violence & persecution they’re no longer acceptable in public discourse. They’re traumatic for the people once labelled with those smears, and we are meant to be better than the past they come from. This is unacceptable.”

In a statement to Out MagazineJohansson said she “decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project” in light of “recent ethical questions raised.” 

“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.

“While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.

“I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”