‘Today‘ host Karl Stefanovic has this morning apologised for his transphobic segment yesterday, which received widespread backlash from the Australian LGBTQIA community and its allies.
On the show yesterday, Karl and his co-host Sylvia Jeffreys did a live cross to Christine Ahern, the 9 News journalist who was mugged by a group of transgender women on the street in Rio while she covered the Olympics.
In the bit, Karl used the term ‘tr*nny’ multiple times, referred to the muggers as ‘transvestites’ (as did Ahern), and held up a ‘wanted’ poster of one of the muggers as a ‘joke’, which showed a photo of Hugo Weaving‘s character in ‘Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’.
GLAAD lists ‘transvestite’ as an outdated term that should now be replaced with ‘cross-dresser’, and means someone who dresses up in the clothing of another gender. The LGBTQIA group lists ‘tr*nny’ as a defamatory slur, which should not be used (unless a transgender person chooses to use it to define themselves).
Last night, Karl apologised to me after I wrote the piece on his usage of the slurs here on PEDESTRIAN.TV:
— chloe sargeant (@chlosarge) July 28, 2016
I’m very sorry Chloe. I’m happy to have a beer or cocktail with anyone I offended. It was complete ignorance. https://t.co/aPCsv0JLZi
— Karl Stefanovic (@karlstefanovic) July 28, 2016
I asked him to direct his apology to the incredible transgender community, instead – and thankfully, he has.
In his lengthy apology on this morning’s edition of ‘Today’, Karl states that he was ignorant, and was unaware that he was crossing a line. He says that he will never again use the word, which he now knows is an outdated slur. He apologises profusely, and tells viewers that he has started to educate himself about this.
We have transcribed some quotes from Karl’s apology, but you can see his full speech below:
“By using the word ‘tranny’, I offended an awful a lot of beautiful, sensitive people. I honestly didnt know the negative and deeply hurtful impact that word has, not only on members of the LGBTQI community, but on their family and on their friends. And therein lies the problem I reckon – I never bothered to ask.
Like so many other words we’ve used in the past, it’s now time to throw that one in the bin.
Do you know what LGBTQI stands for? I didn’t. I do know – it stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trangender, Queer and Intersex. An incredibly diverse community who I am very, very sorry I caused hurt to.
I take this very seriously, because I don’t know what its like to feel apart from the rest of mainstream society. I have no understanding of what it’s like to feel like you are born in the wrong body; to feel uncomfortable in your own skin; or the extreme courage it takes to accept yourself and live the life you’ve always wanted to live.
I used the word; a word I’ll never use again.
To anyone to found the segment funny, please now understand why it was the exact opposite, an ignorant jibe at the expense of a beautiful community already battling against the odds for mainstream acceptance.
As a result of yesterday, I have truly learned a lesson… I was told to educate myself, and I have started to.”
Watch the full apology here:
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) July 28, 2016
Karl’s apology shows great humility and growth, and a want to further educate himself, and we’re impressed. Thanks for taking this seriously, Karlos – it’s appreciated.