Labelling himself an “ignorant tool”, Today host Karl Stefanovic has this morning offered up a sincere apology for making an offensive, transphobic joke on air yesterday.
Karl used the word ‘tranny’, a derogatory slur, while delivering a series of off-colour jokes about the attempted robbery of the show’s reporter Christine Ahern and her cameraman in Rio.
“Yesterday I got it very wrong. I used a word, which I will now say for the last time ever and the only reason I am now saying it is because all of you who didn’t see the segment yesterday can also learn from my mistake if you choose to,” he said in the three-minute piece to camera.
“By using the word ‘tranny’ I offended an awful lot of beautiful, sensitive people. I honestly didn’t know the hurtful impact that word has not only on members of the LGBTQI community but on their family and on their friends.
“Therein lies the problem I reckon. I never bothered to ask.”
He vowed never to use the word again, telling the his audience it was time to “throw [it] in the bin”.
The offending segment on yesterday’s show:
Karl also admitted he only learned what the acronym LGBTQI stood for yesterday after the segment went to air.
“It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex,” he told the audience.
“An incredibly diverse community who I am very, very sorry I caused hurt to.”
After speaking to friends and members of the community he said he now knows he crossed a line by making an “ignorant jibe at the expense of a beautiful community already battling against the odds … “.
“I take this very seriously, because I actually don’t know what it’s like to feel apart from the rest of mainstream society,” he said.
“I have no understanding of what it’s like to feels you are born in the wrong body. To feel uncomfortable in your own skin or the extreme courage it takes to accept yourself and live the life you have always wanted to live.
“I get it wrong, I probably always will, but as of yesterday I have truly learned a lesson.
“Given the events of the last year, now more than ever, we need to educate ourselves, laugh together, embrace each others differences and live with tolerance, compassion and most of all love and respect for everyone.”