Mario Lopez on Wednesday put out a statement addressing controversial remarks he made regarding children and gender identity. In a recent interview, the Extra host claimed that it is “dangerous” for parents to support children who identify as transgender.
During an appearance on The Candace Owens Show, which first aired in June and has since gone viral, Lopez was asked about a “scary trend coming out of Hollywood right now,” wherein celebrities, such as Charlize Theron, allow their children to determine their gender identity. Owens began the conversation by suggesting that children determining their gender at a young age is no different than saying they want to be a mermaid or Superman. At one point, she compared a child determining their gender identity to going through a tomboy phase when she was in the fifth grade.
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“Look, I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids… and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong. But at the same time, my God, if you’re three years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way, or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination then,” Lopez said. “It’s sort of alarming and, my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on.”
Both Owens and Lopez went on to conflate gender identity with sexual orientation. “You can’t make a decision about your sexuality when you’re three years old,” she suggested. Lopez then replied, “You don’t know anything about sexuality yet… You’re just a kid.”
In response to the controversy, Lopez issued the following apology:
The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were. I have been and always will be an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community, and I am going to use this opportunity to better educate myself. Moving forward I will be more informed and thoughtful.
Extra also put out a statement, which reads, “While we have enjoyed a long relationship with Mario Lopez, who we know to be a caring person, the opinions he expressed in this interview do not reflect those of Extra. We wholeheartedly embrace our friends from the LGBTQ community and believe they deserve support and love.”
Earlier this month, NBC announced that Lopez would make the jump from Extra to Access Hollywood this fall. (What’s more, Lopez also signed an overall development and producing deal for both scripted and alternative programming with Universal Television.) The move comes as Extra transitions to Fox-owned stations this fall and rebrands itself as Extra Extra, with new host Billy Bush.
Watch Lopez’s Candace Owens Show interview below (the gender identity discussion begins at the 11:30 mark), then hit the comments with your reactions to the controversy.