Janet Mock Vs Piers Morgan: 2nd Interview To Follow Twitter Fight, Backlash Over Transgender Media Coverage

 @christopherzarac.zara@ibtimes.com
on February 05 2014 5:08 PM

PiersMock Piers Morgan will interview transgender advocate Janet Mock following a Twitter fight between the two.  CNN / Aaron Tredwell

Following a Twitter battle that sparked a fierce backlash against Piers Morgan on Tuesday, Janet Mock will sit down with the impenitent CNN host again on Wednesday night.

Morgan confirmed via tweet that Mock, an author and transgender-rights advocate, has agreed to appear on “Piers Morgan Live” to “debate our little disagreement.” Mock, in turn, tweeted that she is looking forward to a “fruitful discussion.”

That amity was absent between the two just hours earlier, when Mock took to Twitter to criticize the manner in which her interview with him was presented, accusing the CNN host of “sensationalizing” her life.

Mock had appeared on Morgan’s Tuesday-night show in part to discuss her advocacy work and her new book, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More,” which was released this week by the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books.

Mock had sex-reassignment surgery at the age of 18, but identified as a girl much earlier. Morgan had apparently spent much of the pre-taped interview asking about her life before the surgery as opposed to her current life as an advocate. Later, a Twitter teaser for the program asked, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?” During the segment itself, a graphic appeared on screen describing Mock as “Janet Mock: Was a boy until age 18.”  

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Mock said she was at a book-release party when the show aired and she and her friends decided to fight back against the “info-tainment” via social media, tweeting their dissatisfaction with the way the interview was being presented.

 

 

 

A Twitter backlash against Morgan followed, with Mock’s supporters calling the host’s handling of the interview “insensitive” and “unacceptable,” among other things. In a series of tweets late Tuesday night, Morgan defended himself, calling the backlash “nonsense” and accusing Mock of purposely stirring up trouble for the sake of publicity.       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The controversy underscores, yet again, the ineptness -- and often ignorance -- with which many members of the media handle stories about transgender individuals. Just last month, a transgender woman committed suicide after learning she was going to be outed by a writer for ESPN’s sports-culture website Grantland. That story, when published, sparked a huge discussion between LGBT advocates and anyone who cares about journalism ethics. Chief among the complaints was the seemingly cavalier nature with which the author, Caleb Hannan, treated the woman at the center of the story. “Writing a eulogy for a person who by all accounts despised you is an odd experience,” Hannan wrote.

In an apology letter posted the following week, Grantland’s editor, Bill Simmons, spoke of a “collective ignorance about the issues facing the transgender community.”

The advocacy group GLAAD has long tried to educate journalists and media outlets by posting resources and guidelines for covering transgender issues. The group warns of, among other things, placing an overemphasis on a transgender individual’s surgery, as Morgan had done in Mock’s case. “This is a common mistake, but it is considered very offensive,” GLAAD writes. “Surgical procedures are not required for someone to identify as transgender. Rather than focus on what surgical procedures a transgender person has or has not undergone, it’s better to focus on who they are as a person and how they feel about themselves.”

For the moment, at least, it doesn’t appear as if Morgan is planning to rescind his interview methods. He appeared genuinely baffled by the Twitter backlash against him and, as it continued throughout the day, he was unapologetic in occasional responses to critics.

 

 

 

“Piers Morgan Live” airs at 9:00 p.m. ET on CNN. Watch Tuesday’s interview with Mock below.

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