A Fox News journalist has issued an on-air apology for “accidentally” misgendering a trans woman multiple times in a live news report, but his interviewee believes it was entirely deliberate.
“It was an accident that I deeply regret, but in no way did I intend to be disrespectful,” he said. “We at Fox 11 care deeply about the communities we serve, including the transgender community. I’ll strive to do better.”
But Malone says it was far from accidental, as he persistently misgendered her on several occasions before the report aired and continued to do so even after he’d been corrected.
“Rick Lozano misgendered me repeatedly in person and on the phone prior to the initial report airing. I had corrected him multiple times,” she told PinkNews.
“I spoke with a member of their editorial staff multiple times yesterday and was unable to get an answer as to how this got past the producers, or how many eyes would have been on that video before it aired.
“It is my belief that Rick’s misgendering was deliberate and intentional.”
The news report was first broadcast on Monday (October 5). It concerned a criminal investigation into a “unauthorised” MAGA flag that was flown outside the Long Beach police headquarters in California.
Malone was one of many people who were “incensed” at the clearly partisan behaviour from a supposedly apolitical organisation, and she questioned the police force’s claim that their original flag had been stolen and replaced with a pro-Trump one.
Although the voiceover introduces Malone as a transgender woman and she can clearly be seen wearing a dress in the interview, Lozano repeatedly referred to her as “he” and “him” throughout.
— ITM (@ianthomasmalone) October 5, 2020
“I called their news desk two hours after the report aired to complain. The person who picked up knew who I was and referenced [my earlier] tweets before verbally accosting me for ‘making assumptions,’ and hanging up the phone,” she said.
She later spoke to an editor who apologised for the actions of those working on the news desk and expressed alarm that it hadn’t been brought to his attention earlier.
While Malone appreciates the apologies she received, both on air and in private, she’s concerned that this lapse was allowed to occur in the first place.
“I am worried about the follow-through here, especially considering this is a newsroom. The idea that there’s been no disciplinary action taken is appalling. That video is appalling. The facts are appalling. Something needs to be done,” she said.
“As for what can be done in the future, it’s clear that there weren’t any guardrails in place to prevent a single reporter from editorialising someone else’s identity.”
The fact that no one thought to double-check her pronouns is a “stain” on the newsroom, she added. “I can only imagine how they’d handle a non-binary or gender non-conforming subject.”
Malone has made several requests to Peter Wilgoren, assistant news director for FOX LA, to open an internal HR investigation into how this happened. She had not received a response at the time of publication.