Last night at the annual convention for the National LGBTQ Journalists Association (NLGJA) in Palm Springs, California, the emcee at the closing reception hosted by FOX News, addressed the audience by saying “Ladies and gentlemen, things and its,” disparaging trans and non-binary attendees. The emcee for the NLGJA conference event was Marshall McPeek, a meteorologist for an ABC news station in Columbus, Ohio. His comment offended many LGBTQ media professionals in attendance. An hour later, McPeek apologized to the audience, and today NLGJA issued an apology to its members announcing McPeek’s resignation from the group.
Marshall McPeek was joined onstage with Sean Lewis, a reporter with WGN in Chicago. Immediately after McPeek made his comment, journalist Mary Emily O’Hara tweeted out an image of McPeek and Lewis, quoting McPeek’s comment.
An hour after making his comment, McPeek reappeared onstage and apologized, calling it inappropriate and wishing everyone a good night.
As news of his comment spread, conference attendees expressed outrage and disappointment. Some questioned why Fox News — a network that spreads the lies of U.S. President Donald Trump while providing a platform for racists like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — was allowed to host the closing reception or have a booth within the conference exhibition hall.
Nevertheless, Fox News has been involved in the NLGJA national conference for at least several years, regularly hosting panel discussions, social events and a booth in the exhibition hall.
Fox News has yet to respond to McPeek’s comment.
Update: the emcee later apologized, and today has resigned his membership in NLGJA. https://t.co/K7DVidvsUa
— Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) September 9, 2018
This morning, the NLGJA issued a statement calling Marshall McPeek a “volunteer emcee” and his comment “an inappropriate, unscripted remark that does not reflect our values.” They added that McPeek voluntarily resigned his NLGJA membership.
The statement said, “We’ve worked hard for many years to make NLGJA an inclusive organization for transgender and nonbinary journalists. 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.”