Waymon Hudson

Fox News Smears Next Top Model Transgender Contestant

Filed By Waymon Hudson | August 16, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Fundie Watch, Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: America's Next Top Model, Fox News, Isis, transgender, Tyra Banks, US Weekly

A transgender woman will be one isis-b.jpgof the 14 women who will compete on the new season of America's Next Top Model on The CW (returning September 3).

22 year-old Isis, a former non-profit worker who identifies herself as "a woman born physically male", will jump into Tyra Banks' grueling reality show in its 10th season. Isis, who simply says "my cards were dealt differently", was asked by US Weekly about being a role model for other transpeople and answered:

I like to help people, but I'm here to follow my dreams.

While the coverage on various new sites has been overwhelmingly positive, it should come as no surprise that one station had to take it to the most offensive place possible- Fox News. The disgusting video clip after the jump...

Here's the clip:


iPhone users: Click to watch

From GLAAD:

On August 14, Fox News Channel aired a crude and obnoxious segment concerning the recent announcement of America's Next Top Model's first-ever transgender contestant. Isis, who will begin appearing on the new cycle of the popular CW program when it premieres on September 3, was interviewed exclusively in the current issue of Us Weekly.

Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett and Us Weekly Editor-at-Large Ian Drew spent the segment gratuitously insulting the America's Next Top Model contestant, using dehumanizing terminology, inaccurate and inappropriate pronouns and offensive references to her anatomy.

While laughing and joking, Jarrett mocked Isis' description of herself as a woman whose "cards were dealt differently," and said, "That's an understatement!" Drew referred to recent instances of transgender visibility on reality television as "The Crying Game '08," going on to call the show "America's Next Top Tranny." Drew then said that she doesn't look any different from other contestants because "they are not exactly the most high-class group of women." Throughout the segment, Jarrett switched back and forth between male and female pronouns, and both Jarrett and Drew suggested that Isis "fooled" people by "blending in." They went on to make crude remarks about her genitalia and the pitch of her voice.

Soon after the segment aired, GLAAD contacted both Fox News Channel and Us Weekly, calling on both to apologize. Us Weekly issued the following statement: "We apologize if any group was offended by our editor's comments as it was by no means his intention." Fox News did not respond.

What a disgusting display from Fox News and US Weekly. I'm happy GLAAD called them on it and is pushing the issue (although I'm sure Faux News will never change). Be sure to lend your voice to the protest. You can find the contact information for Fox News here.

Despite the horrendous Fox News coverage, I am happy to see Isis on Top Model. It is great to see the trans community get more representation on television.

I will be sure to tune in to see how the gorgeous Isis does in competition. I know I'll be rooting for her! I'll also be letting both Fox and US Weekly know what I think of the way the dehumanizing way they treated her.


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We should also be sending "Thank You" letters to Tyra Banks for giving Isis a shot on the show. I have always admired Tyra, but this has to have put her in a whole new level of admiration, at least for me. I never watched the show, but I will this year.

We also need to keep an eye on Letterman, Leno and the other late-night hosts, because they have had crude jokes about trans people in the past. This one is ripe for their stupid writers, especially Leno.

I agree, Monica. We have to keep an eye on the late night folks. I was highly disappointed in Chelsea Lately on E already- they did a horrendous opening skit making fun of Isis and trans folks. I was shocked and disgusted- Chelsea Handler usually doesn't cross the line like she didi in this. I'll put the video up when I find an embed version. Until then, you can see it on their website:

http://www.eonline.com/on/shows/chelsea/index.jsp

Ya, Fox News sucks, but what about the US Weekly Editor? He did nothing to to keep the "reporter" from making fun of Isis. A few letters need to be sent to him / them also.

I agree, Phil. The US Weekly print story was really good and then the moron editor appeared on Fox News and egged the host on.

I realize that I'm stereotyping, but didn't the US Weekly editor seem, well, gay? My gaydar went pinging off the charts!

Bil,
I would say your statement has a high "Duh Factor." Mine went off, too.

I didn't realize Fox News was still broadcasting, it's good to see they are still contributing to a safe America ;)

ET gave Isis a better welcoming into mainstream media: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRG0TgMDU-k . Although the other gals appear as complete ditzes.

The one thing the US-Weakly guy said that made sense is this is a marketing gimmick by ANTM to include a transgirl. I think that is correct (not that Fox would know anything about marketing to certain groups, no of course not). I am really looking forward to the social interaction between Isis and the other girls. I will be watching.

it's good to see they are still contributing to a safe America

LOL... That made me smile.

I'm looking forward to the interaction on the show as well.

While my initial reaction was disgust, after considering the source; Fox News, who cares? After all, they are the channel for Klan members - not actual thinking individuals.

My solution is, don't watch them, turn the channel and maybe somebody send Gregg Jarrett a copy of "True Selves". So the next time he is "looking up" all the "confusing" terms he will better know how to identify himself.

Because seriously, he seems like a major closet case with his faux flippancy.

Secondly, instead of wasting time writing letters to Fox or such, how about not letting them advertise here on Bilerico?

As I post this reply, there is a "Fox Business" ad in the middle column?? WTF??

Moreover, policing "the late night talk shows" for "offensive speech" violations, seems a bit overboard.

I love reading and watching The Onion as well as South Park both of which make fun of everyone, including us.

Sometimes we need to lighten up, and sometimes we need to just look at the source - then move on, and sometimes situations demand action.

This however, at least in my opinion, is not one which demands attention.

Interestingly enough, I just got a handwritten note from Alexis Glick, the VP of Fox Business News and their morning anchor. Since I've been a talking head for the channel, she wanted to point me to her recent blog post begging Obama to choose Bayh. It would appear that she's a Democrat.

You are right that the best thing to do is not watch. However, I think these things should be discussed and looked at so the community knows where to spend their time, money, and support. It's shouldn't be our main focus (I mean, we all know how good sending letters to Fox will do),but in other ways (like reaching out to educate Chelsea Lately or US Weekly) it can make a difference in the future.

By the way, I looove your comment about Gregg Jarrett. :)

Y'know, when you think about it, a T girl with experience in the pageant/ballroom scene would have a secret advantage over the other girls. The poses and voguing the ballroom girls do is certainly based on modeling, and Isis' poses, moves and walks are probably quite well practiced. I suspect she may do very, very well on that show - which would be the best revenge on the jerkweeds that run the Oxymoron Network, as well as Leno, who I can't stand anyway.

I sent an email to Jarrett and got a response. A kind of fucked up one, in my opinion:

try to pay attention. An on-air apology was made by me.

That was his entire note. No greeting, no signature. No capitalization of the word "try."

And when did he apologize?

Trans/homo phobic comments would be expected (unfortunately) from the likes of Jarrett and Faux News. However, I can't at all understand Ian Drew's allowance of such hateful and ignorant words. Disgusting.

I hope Isis does well, whether on the show or other pursuits. Hopefully she'll show those clowns what's up!

Just in from GLAAD:

UPDATE, August 18, 2008: Thanks to constituents sharing their concerns with Fox News, on August 15 America's Newsroom host Gregg Jarrett apologized on the air for comments made about a transgender contestant on the upcoming season of America's Next Top Model: "This time yesterday we aired a segment about a transgender by the name of Isis, who will compete in the upcoming season of the television show America's Next Top Model. The group GLAAD, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sent us an email saying it was offensive. That was not our intention. We apologize."

Dude, she's gorgeous. She totally has a shot at winning. And I love that she chose the name of a goddess for herself. Girlfriend is fierce!

Bil Browning wrote:
Alexis Glick, the VP of Fox Business News and their morning anchor... It would appear that she's a Democrat.

Not really sure why it would matter that Ms. Glick is a Democrat.

This past Indiana Primary Election day I worked the polls for a Democratic candidate. There were also two others "Democrat" poll workers During the standard banter both called Senator Obama, N*, and one called me a "godless faggot" when the conversation referenced my partner and our boys.

Lest not forget, Kelly and I live in one of the most "liberal" "democratic" areas in Indiana, just outside Chicago in Lake County.

So just because Ms. Glick is a "Demopublican" it does not imbue her with immunity from holding bigoted personal views.

After all, she is willing to work for Fox News.

"Blue Dog Democrat" is the appropiate term. The worse example happens to have come form my neck of the woods, former Georgia Zell Miller. He even spoke at the Republican Convention in 2004. You always see him with a skowl on his face, like you see all other religious right bigots.