Last month, GLAAD issued an action alert in response to a segment on the August 14 broadcast of Fox’s America’s Newsroom. Host Gregg Jarrett, in a conversation with Us Weekly editor-at-large Ian Drew, made a series of crude and dehumanizing comments about Isis, the first ever transgender contestant on America’s Next Top Model. Here's what happened:
While laughing and joking, Jarrett mocked Isis’ description of herself as a woman whose “cards were dealt differently,” and said, “That’s an understatement!” Drew referred to recent instances of transgender visibility on reality television as “The Crying Game ’08,” going on to call the show “America’s Next Top Tranny.” Drew then said that she doesn’t look any different from other contestants because “they are not exactly the most high-class group of women.” Throughout the segment, Jarrett switched back and forth between male and female pronouns, and both Jarrett and Drew suggested that Isis “fooled” people by “blending in.” They went on to make crude remarks about her genitalia and the pitch of her voice.
You can see the clip below:
While Us Weekly issued an apology later that day after we contacted them, Fox News did not respond until we sent out the action alert asking our constituents to write in to voice their concerns.
The next day, Gregg Jarrett offered this apology on the August 15 edition of America’s Newsroom (you can check out the video below):
This time yesterday we aired a segment about a transgender by the name of Isis, who will compete in the upcoming season of the television show America’s Next Top Model.The group GLAAD, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sent us an email saying it was offensive. That was not our intention. We apologize.
Nancy Nangeroni, co-chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and executive director of GenderVision, had her own take on the original segment - and the apology. She released the following video in response:
Nangeroni takes apart the original segment piece by piece and calls to task both Jarrett and Drew for their misuse of pronouns and the general lack of respect they showed for transgender people.
She takes issue with Jarrett’s claim that their intent was not be offensive, and points out that the three minute segment only garnered a 20 second apology. Nangeroni also addresses the fact that the apology includes incorrect terminology - Jarrett uses the phrase “a transgender” when referring to Isis.
Unfortunately, there is a long history of anti-transgender segments being aired on Fox. A look back through GLAAD’s Best and Worst archive recaps the problematic segments and the calls to action GLAAD has sent to our membership.
While we continue to make it a priority to act as a resource to news outlets on their coverage of LGBT issues, we also continue to monitor and respond to news outlets, like Fox News, when they get it wrong.