Trans woman from ITV News report hit with 'unacceptable abuse'

'I am sure this is a lovely, intelligent and decent human being. This was an important piece. This is not however a struggling 'mother',' says Rosie Duffield.

Rosie Duffield, 50 year-old Labour MP for Canterbury who has been bullied on social media by local political activists. Whitehall, London, UK
Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, criticised ITV over the news segment featuring a trans woman. (Alamy)

The Trades Union Congress has leapt to the defence of staff member and transgender woman Mika Minio-Paluello after she was criticised online for appearing in an ITV news segment discussing how water bills affect her as a mother.

Among those voicing their displeasure with ITV over the news item was Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who said Minio-Paluello was not a struggling 'mother'.

"Today a member of TUC staff, Mika Minio-Paluello, is being subjected to anti-trans abuse online, because she is a mother. This is unacceptable. Everyone should be safe and respected at work," TUC said in a tweet.

The segment, which was also shared on Twitter, featured Mika Minio-Paluello discussing how the price hikes on water bills affected her and her family.

Minio-Paluelle says: "The idea that we’re going to have even greater water bills at a time of prices already being hiked - and we have to to pay a lot for food - that’s tough if you’re a mum like me already struggling to get the things my kid needs".

The clip has been viewed 1.7 million times and sparked debate. That included criticism from Duffield, who tweeted: "Dear @itvnews, I am sure this is a lovely, intelligent and decent human being. This was an important piece. This is not however a struggling 'mother'."

Another twitter user, sharing the clip, wrote: "ITV news did a piece about the impact of soaring water bills on an everyday mother. So naturally they got a man to play the part."

The comments were batted back by others, who argued that ITV featuring a trans person in a small news segment shouldn't prompt the widespread discussion that it did.

"Just seen a very unpleasant post criticising ITV for interviewing "a man" because they spoke to a trans woman - a Thames Water customer - during a segment on rising bills," wrote Paris Lees. "Trans do people use water and pay bills. Are we not allowed talk about anything now? Is that the new rule?"

Some users branded the MP's comments transphobic. "Sorry @RosieDuffield1 this is just outright transphobia - Mika is a lovely person and has the right to have her dignity and gender identity respected," one person replied.

"No. The word mother is already taken," Duffield said in response. "It is a word used to describe biological women. That is the truth."

Duffield is a prominent gender critical voice on Labour’s backbenches and has previously claimed the party has a "woman problem".

In January, the Canterbury MP, who has spoken about surviving domestic violence, described being "shouted down" by members of her own party in the House of Commons after voicing her fears about the erosion of single-sex spaces. She accused the Labour leadership of doing nothing to protect her.

British Member of Parliament (MP) Rosie Duffield speaks during the International Women's Day Debate at the House of Commons in London, Britain, March 10, 2022. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. IMAGE MUST NOT BE ALTERED
Rosie Duffield said she had been lambasted for speaking out about single-sex spaces. (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters)

"It’s a cycle I’ve come to know well. First, speak up in defence of women’s sex-based rights. And then, face the consequences. Alone," she wrote in an article for UnHerd.

In April this year, she criticised Labour leader Keir Starmer's assertion in a Sunday Times interview that “99.9% of women” do not have penis.

She tweeted: “There’s no ‘somehow’ or ‘could’ about the rolling back of women’s rights. It’s already a reality, one that huge numbers of women are frightened and furious about. Sir Keir could take a look at the 2,500 livid comments under his Sunday Times piece.”

Yahoo News has approached ITV and Duffield for comment.