TODAY Show Australia host, Karl Stefanovic, has issued an on-air apology to viewers after comments he made were slammed for being transphobic.
During a live cross yesterday morning to reporter Christine Ahern, who was mugged by a group of transgender women on the streets of Rio while she covers the Olympics, the 41-year-old used the term 'tranny' multiple times and referred to the muggers as 'transvestites'. He also held up pictures from 'Priscilla: Queen of the Desert' while laughing, asking Ahern if the muggers resembled Hugo Weaving's character from the film.
The backlash was swift. Many members of the LGBTQIA community called Stefanovic out for his use of outdated terminology, as 'tranny' and 'transvestite' are widely regarded as slurs unless the transgender person self-defines as such.
Journalist Chloe Sargeant sent Stefanovic a tweet saying, ''tr*nny' isn't ok to say in 2016. happy to have a friendly beer and explain why to clarify for you?". He replied: "I'm very sorry Chloe. I'm happy to have a beer or cocktail with anyone I offended. It was complete ignorance."
On-air this morning Stefanovic agreed he needed to better educate himself about the struggles of the trans community, and said his comments came from a place of ignorance.
"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," Stefanovic said.
"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."
You can watch his full apology above.
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