An LGBTQ journalism organization is apologizing after a conference emcee addressed attendees at a Fox News-hosted event as “things and its,” reports NBC News.
Marshall McPeek, the chief meteorologist for Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned Fox 28 and ABC 6 in Columbus, Ohio, made the offending remarks on Saturday evening during the conference’s closing reception, which was sponsored by Fox News.
He reportedly addressed the crowd of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer news professionals as “ladies and gentlemen, things and its.”
“We’ve worked hard for many years to make NLGJA an inclusive organization for transgender and nonbinary journalists,” NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists said in an apology on Sunday. “People were understandably hurt and offended by last night’s remarks. As journalists, we understand uniquely that words matter. We apologize and are committed to working to make NLGJA more inclusive and diverse.”
McPeek later apologized and resigned his NLGJA membership shortly thereafter.
— Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) September 9, 2018
Monica Roberts, a transgender writer from Houston who was present during Saturday’s closing reception, wrote about the incident Monday on her blog, TransGriot.
“While I am happy McPeek came back later and apologized and NLGJA an organization I’ve been a member of for several years has released a statement about it, the damage was still done,” Roberts wrote. “No Mr. McPeek and by extension, NLGJA and FOX News, there were no ‘things and its’ in that Hotel Zoso room that September 8 night. There were trans, gender non-conforming (GNC) and non-binary (NB) people in there. There were your trans, GNC and NB media colleagues in that room.”
“NLGJA has been handed a moment in which it can be a leader in addressing and helping to solve the dearth of trans journalists problem,” she wrote. “The question is will we see progress on increasing the abysmal numbers of trans, NB (non-binary) and GNC (gender-nonconforming) journalists before we gather again a year from now in New Orleans?”
Tony D’Angelo, general manager of Fox 28 and ABC 6, condemned McPeek’s comments “to the highest degree,” calling them “hurtful and offensive.”
“Marshall’s comments in no way reflect the values of Sinclair Broadcast Group,” D’Angelo said in a statement emailed to NBC News. “We are an inclusive workplace that prides itself on all employees feeling comfortable and welcome. Sinclair has supported the important work of NLGJA and its member journalists and we were saddened by his comments.”