CNN host Chris Cuomo swiftly apologized after attempting to crack a poorly-judged joke about pronouns at last night’s LGBTQ-themed Democratic Presidential nominee town hall event in Los Angeles.
It was the first time an LGBTQ-themed Presidential Q&A such as this was screened live to TV.
When Cuomo introduced Senator Kamala Harris to the stage, Harris told the audience her pronouns: “My pronouns are she/her/hers.”
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) October 11, 2019
Cuomo replied, “Mine too.”
Cue awkward silence. After a moment, Harris simply replied: “Alright.”
Among the first to call him out on the comment was the LGBTQ advocacy group, GLAAD.
— GLAAD (@glaad) October 11, 2019
“Kamala Harris declared her pronouns on such a major stage and she should be applauded but instead it was so disappointing for Chris Cuomo to mock it in that moment.”
A few hours later, Cuomo took to Twitter to apologize.
PLEASE READ: When Sen. Harris said her pronouns were she her and her's, I said mine too. I should not have. I apologize. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality. Thank you for watching our townhall.
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) October 11, 2019
“When Sen. Harris said her pronouns were she her and her’s, I said mine too. I should not have. I apologize. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality. Thank you for watching our townhall.”
The tweet has prompted almost 6k comments at the time of writing. Some welcomed the apology; others said he shouldn’t have apologized, and others were still upset he’d said the comment in the first place.
The gaff risked overshadowing the post-debate analysis. Nine of the current candidates took part in the debate. Bernie Saunders couldn’t attend as he is still recuperating at home following his heart attack.
Highlights included Mayor Pete Buttigieg – the first Democratic presidential nominee who is openly gay – blasting the ban on gay men donating blood.
“My blood is not welcome in this country and it’s not based on science,” Buttigieg said. “It’s based on prejudice.”
He also recalled how he feared dying while in the military in Afghanistan while still in the closet, having never known what it was like to fall in love with another man and marry.
Buttigieg and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris pledged their support for the Equality Act and making PrEP affordable to all who want it.
Several said they’d introduce specific posts to help push for equality, such as Harris stating she’d create a new White House Position: chief advocate for LGBTQ+ Affairs.
Frontrunner Joe Biden, who has been criticized for some of his past voting records against equality, went to lengths to emphasize how he has changed over the years (he supported same-sex marriage before President Obama publicly did so).
He said that if elected, he would “curtail foreign assistance to countries” that curb LGBTQ rights.
Some were asked about religious fuelled homophobia, with Beto O’Rourke saying religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they discriminate: “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.”
Cory Booker agreed but was less unequivocal, saying instead, “There have to be consequences for discrimination.” Booker, like Buttigieg, voiced support for lifting the blood ban
Other subjects talked about included bans on conversion therapy, mental health and suicide, trans rights and anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.