While hosting an LGBTQ journalists’ gathering, Marshall McPeek made a derogatory reference to transgender attendees and was immediately called out.
By Bob Vitale
Transgender activists and allies are incensed over comments made at an LGBTQ journalists’ convention over the weekend by a gay TV news anchor from Columbus.
Marshall McPeek, chief meteorologist for WSYX-TV, emceed the closing reception Saturday night for the Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He opened his remarks by referring to people in the audience as “ladies and gentlemen, things and its.”
The criticism was quick and is continuing.
“So while I’m helping myself to some of the food at this reception the program starts and one of the emcees, later identified as Marshall McPeek makes the ‘things and its’ comment that has been reported in Mary Emily O’Hara’s story that I immediately called out and will repeat again,” Monica Roberts wrote today on her website, Transgriot.
O’Hara’s tweet from the event about McPeek’s comment was shared widely. O’Hara also tweeted Roberts’ immediate reaction on Saturday: “Oh no, he did not” and, “There are no ‘things’ or ‘its’ here.”
Also from Roberts’ commentary today: “How do you think that ‘things and its’ comment, which has been derisively and sometimes violently spat at the trans community by all transphobic comers over the last few years made us feel? How do you think it made me personally feel as the lone representative at NLGJA 2018 of the demographic group who is taking the brunt of the anti-trans violence in this country?”
McPeek returned to the stage before the event was over and apologized, attendees reported. NLGJA, the acronym for the association’s former name, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, issued a statement Sunday:
“During the closing reception, Marshall McPeek, a volunteer emcee, made an inappropriate, unscripted remark that does not reflect our values. He returned to the stage and apologized. He has also voluntarily resigned his membership in the organization.
“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.”
McPeek hasn’t made any public statement beyond his on-the-scene apology, but WSYX-TV General Manager Tony D’Angelo shared a statement with Prizm from the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned Columbus station:
“Marshall McPeek’s inappropriate remarks at the NLGJA convention were hurtful and offensive and we condemn them to the highest degree. We understand Marshall appropriately returned to the stage to apologize and resigned his membership with NLGJA. Marshall’s comments in no way reflect the values of Sinclair Broadcast Group. We are an inclusive workplace that prides itself on all employees feeling comfortable and welcome. Sinclair has supported the important work of NLGJA and its member journalists and we were saddened by his comments.”
Criticism continues, though, from Columbus…
I am not an 'IT' or 'THING' Marshall McPeek!!! I am Transgender, but more than that, I am a human being!!!
Nice to know that at least one of your newscasters is transphobic. Very unimpressed with Marshall Mcpeek
"The emcee for the NLGJA conference event was Marshall McPeek, a meteorologist for an ABC news station in Columbus, Ohio."
He refered to trans individuals as its and things. This individual needs to be fired. https://t.co/1rfPwN2V8E
— Kathy Huff – Trans Activist (@huff_huff55) September 10, 2018
Marshall McPeek @MarshallMcPeek ABC 6/FOX 28 chief meteorologist is a bigot. ABC6/Fox28, why are you employing someone who would purposely refer to his neighbors as "things and its" because he wanted to denigrate them as people? https://t.co/SsmE948yBP
— Sweet Jesus (@sweetJ96) September 10, 2018
TransOhio, the state’s advocacy group for transgender, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people, issued a statement via Facebook:
TransOhio is outraged by the harmful, hurtful and hateful statements made by Marshall McPeek at a nationally televised…
Prizm has offered McPeek the opportunity to comment about his remarks to the gay journalists’ gathering. Asked whether McPeek could face disciplinary action by WSYX-TV, D’Angelo said he wouldn’t comment on personnel matters at the station.
McPeek has been a meteorologist and anchor at WSYX since 2013, and he spent 10 years before that at WCMH-TV in Columbus. He also has worked at WEWS-TV and WKYC-TV in Cleveland and at WTOL-TV in Toledo.