Transgender activist, TV host, and author Janet Mock has issued a response to problematic, transphobic segments that have aired on The Breakfast Club in recent weeks.
Appearing on The Breakfast Club on July 18 to discuss her second memoir, Surpassing Certainty (which was featured in co-host Angela Yee’s book club), the installment was filled with numerous instances in which Mock was disrespected. “Though I have not been able to watch the video of my interview (I have already experienced it and won’t be doing so again), I’m proud of the labor I put forth, and I’m grateful to Yee for her preparation and effort to steer the conversation away from the particulars of my body and instead toward my work,” Mock writes in Allure. “The interview was what it was, and I refuse to re-experience being asked about my vagina in such blatant, irrelevant, and sensational ways. Again, if I am not fucking you, why do you care?
” In a petition calling to #BoycottBreakfastClub, the Masha P. Johnson Institute also writes, “[Mock] deserved far better treatment from a show she gifted with her expertise, and vulnerability.” Mock was further disrespected in the conversation between Lil Duval and the co-hosts (posted to YouTube on July 28) which was laden with transphobic bits. During the interview, Duval is posed an inappropriate hypothetical question by DJ Envy about dating and sleeping with a woman who discloses that she’s trans after four months of courtship (you can read about the exchange in Mock’s letter or watch it in the interview starting at the 6:25 mark). He responds that he would murder the woman in the situation (the murder rate of transgender women in the U.S. is only on the rise), to which the co-hosts react with laughter and little to no reprimand. The co-hosts then pivot to mentioning Mock’s appearance on the show, showing Duval her book cover, to which he responds by misgendering her. Duval also repeatedly uses the t-word throughout the interview.
“The hosts laugh after using my image as a literal prop — just days after I was a guest on the same show — for laughs, vitriol, and a deeper call and justification for violence,” Mock’s statement continues. “Just so we are all clear: On a black program that often advocates for the safety and lives of black people, its hosts laughed as their guest advocated for the murder of black trans women who are black people, too!”
“We are aware that this show has had many opportunities to take a stand against anti black transphobia but continues to fuel the fire instead,” the petition statement continues. “At a time when the lives of black people are under attack by the state and by the lack of resources in our community anything and anyone that undermines our ability to build black power must be held accountable.” Several activists showed up to Charlamagne’s talk segment during Politicon over the weekend, protesting the Breakfast Club content. “We are not a joke,” one organizer says. “Trans people are not a joke.”