Transgender advocate Janet Mock returned to CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” on Wednesday to defend tweets she sent on Tuesday night that criticized the show for “sensationalizing” her story and prompted hundreds of followers to accuse host Piers Morgan of transphobia.
At the start of the contentious segment (watch the full interview below), Morgan said that he invited Mock for her to explain why he’d had “an infuriating 24 hours” since the Tuesday interview ran.
“Today I have spent 12 hours being viciously abused by the transgender community, egged on by your own tweeting last night that you were somehow very dismayed by the way the interview had gone,” Morgan said.
The host said he was particularly “peeved” by the fact that Mock had not expressed any sort of discomfort with the questions at the time (the interview was taped four days prior to Tuesday’s airing), and had shaken his hand and thanked him for the interview, only to publicly bash it when it aired.
– Janet Mock (@janetmock) February 5, 2014
“Well I’m sorry that you feel offended,” Mock said. “I think people in the trans community feel equally as offended.”
Mock took issue with the fact that Morgan constantly discussed her pre-transition gender and that the show’s lower-third read, “Was a boy until 18,” through most of the interview. Mock, who went on the show to promote her new memoir detailing life as a trans woman, said dwelling on her past and transition distracted from the serious issues the transgender community currently faces.
“But that’s exactly why I had you on the show!” Morgan said. “That’s why I promoted your book! That’s why I told everybody to go and read the damn thing. So I ask you again, why have I been vilified for being transparently supportive of you? I don’t get it.”
Morgan said he didn’t want the exchange to be a “hostile interview” because he respected Mock, but asked why an article in Marie Claire magazine that Mock supposedly approved contained language where she, like Morgan’s show, said she was born a boy. He repeatedly asked why it was so offensive to just say that Mock was physically a boy before undergoing gender reassignment surgery, while being respectful of her advocacy and experiences.
“Being offensive and being kind are not mutually exclusive things. I think that we can be completely – have great intentions and be good people, but also be ignorant and have a lack of understanding of these issues,” she said.
“Our exchange was completely fine, but when you package something with the headline, ‘Until 18 was a boy,’ and also say, ‘Formerly a man’ … that is false advertising, and that is infotainment,” Mock added, saying that the issue of gender identity is too nuanced to communicate in such a short space.
Morgan maintained throughout the interview that he did not use offensive language and that his questions did not merit the “social media firestorm of abuse” from Mock’s supporters.
Watch the full interview here: