‘Today’ host, Karl Stefanovic has been announced as a finalist for an LGBTI award in media simply for apologising after he made a transphobic slur on TV.
I don’t blame you for reading the last sentence twice. I first thought this “news” was published on The Shovel or some other satirical site for the LOLs. However the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) has announced its Honour 2016 award finalists across various LGBTI categories ahead of their annual event later this month.
Stefanovic is one of six finalists within the media category for the coveted award. His nomination is in light of his “groundbreaking and earnest apology to the transgender community”.
The Today Show made headlines in late July after Stefanovic’s use of “tr***y” on air during a segment covering the lead up to the Rio Olympics. In his defence, Karl apologised profusely on air the next day, in a heartfelt three minutes of television, for “crossing a line”.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) July 28, 2016
The apology instantly trended online, and rightly so. It corrected a wrong, and allowed a large section of our broader community to understand the impacts their language has on others.
— chloe sargeant (@chlosarge) July 28, 2016
Despite how viral this clip went, it needs to be viewed in context. It was only made because of the abhorrently inappropriate comments made 24 hours prior. Karl himself, openly acknowledged his ignorance on the matter of LGBTIQ rights and appropriate terminology. Whilst he is clearly remorseful for his actions, he isn’t using his high profile presence in the media to advocate for trans rights on a regular basis. Sure, he apologised, but his initial actions still hurt many trans and LGBTIQ+ people.
ACON’s publicity surrounding this has been completely farcical. Stefanovic was specifically listed in their media release headline and in doing so, ACON seemingly illegitimised the tireless work of the five other finalists within the Media category.
I have personally seen the content of all five other finalists in Stefanovic’s category – all have utilised their respective platforms to convey a message of hope and to highlight the injustices and hurdles that have or continue to burden the beautifully diverse LGBTIQ+ community. Every single one of these people is deserving of this award.
If Karl Stefanovic was legit he'd say thanks to the organisers & refuse the nomination. You shouldn't get a prize for correcting a mistake.
— Kimberley Ramplin (@Kimbo_Ramplin) September 5, 2016
Apologising for our mistakes is something we should do as another aspect of our lives, without expectation of recognition. It affords us the opportunity to better ourselves, and those around us. But it certainly should not win you an award for the one thing you’re apologising for.