A report on the mugging of an Australian news crew that landed at Rio de Janeiro quickly descended into an excuse to disparage transgender people — exactly what you'd expect when Karl Stefanovic is involved.
A Channel 9 news staff landed in Brazil for the 2016 Olympics only to be caught in an attempted robbery. Although the event itself was shocking enough, Karl Stefanovic, the presenter of Australian morning show “Today,” made it even more so when he found out the culprit was thought to be transgender.
Stefanovic and his news partner Sylvia Jeffreys did a live interview with reporter Christina Ahern Thursday morning, when they were told her security guard was hit on the head by the culprit who tried to wrestle away their camera.
“We had to shoot a piece to camera on the beach and things just turned really quickly. We came across a group of transvestites, one very strong — the only reason it is important is because they were very strong,” reported Ahern. “One came straight for us and tried to get my cameraman’s camera but he was so scared about telling the boss that he had lost the camera within an hour of landing in Rio, so he held on to it.”
The cameraman then stepped into the shot and Stefanovic joked that he kept his cool because he was “no stranger to ‘trannies.’”
“He has fought off tougher. Tougher trannies. They don’t call him the bull for nothing. Let’s be serious, because one of them was armed with a brick in their handbag and that was used as a weapon against your security guard or a police officer, is that right?” asked Stefanovic.
While the word "transvestite" used by Ahern is outdated, the term "tranny" is even worse and described by the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Defamation Alliance as a defamatory term used to “dehumanize transgender people.”
“The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups,” states the reference guide.
But Stefanovic was not finished yet. To finish his insult to the whole transgender community, he pulled out a spoof police-sketch of the suspect — a picture of Hugo Weaving dressed up as a drag queen for his character in the show “Priscilla, Queen of The Desert.”
“The other thing is Chris, I know that you have gone to see the police about this tranny. We have a confit made up and we know they don’t all look the same. Is that the tranny they are talking about it?” he asked showing the mock sketch on air.
LGBT community members on Twitter are not amused.
Karl Stefanovic shame on you.— Penny Clifford (@PennyClifford) July 28, 2016
Transphobia is alive and well on the Today Show.
Its all a joke.
But yet Sonia... https://t.co/1gP2UJBOza
.@karlstefanovic when you joke about trans peoples identities and dehumanise us thru slurs it justifies the violence/discrimination we face— allison gallagher (@bornhowling) July 28, 2016
Seriously @karlstefanovic ? Saying "tranny" on TV & making a joke of it? Do you have any idea how harming that is to young LGBT Australians?— Harry Cook (@HarryCook) July 28, 2016
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters