American comedian Lil’ Duval has refused to apologise for a ‘joke’ made when appearing on the radio show The Breakfast Club where he said that he would kill a trans person if he slept with them.
When asked how he felt about President Trump’s proposal to ban transgender service people from taking part in military service.
‘I’m just doing my thing,’ he replied, ‘shout out to all the trannies out there.’
Lil’ Duval was then asked what he would do if he were to sleep with a transgender person without knowing that they were trans beforehand. ‘If you had sex with one and you didn’t know?’
‘This might sound messed up and I don’t care, but, she’s dying.’ He responded. ‘I can’t deal with that. I can’t do that. You manipulated me to believe this thing. In my mind, I’m gay now!’
One of the shows presenters tried to get Duval to apologise for his comments whilst on air by pointing out that it would be a hate crime; Duval, however, continued on to defend his response.
‘There should be some kind of repercussions if you do that to somebody. If one did that to me and they didn’t tell me, I’m gonna be so mad I’m probably going to want to kill them. I can say what I want and do what I want, and people understand where I’m coming from. They know I’m not coming from a place of malice.’
Many members of the trans community and their allies took to Twitter to express their disapproval of Duval’s comments, including actress Laverne Cox.
Author Janet Mock, whom Duval referred to with male pronouns during his interview, condemned the shows hosts for allowing hate speech.
‘It’s this deplorable rhetoric that leads many cis men, desperately clutching their hetrosexuality, to yell at, kick, spit on, shoot, burn, stone and kill trans women of colour,’ she wrote in an open essay online. ‘Duval purposefully misgendered me (as the hosts laugh, thereby cosigning it) in an attempt to put me in my place and erase my womanhood. Their fragile masculinity would not allow them to recognise a simple truth: I am an accomplished, beautiful black trans woman.’
Duval has refused to apologise for his comments, responding to the criticism on Twitter by releasing the following image:
He has also spoken about the incident during an interview with TMZ Live, where he claimed that his response was justified by the emotional and psychological damage sleeping with a trans person would cause him.
‘I went crazy there, because that’s what they made me do. That’s what they made me say.’ He said. ‘I said that because the hosts were saying, taking away somebody’s power of choice, it should be criminal; you don’t know what it could do to someone psychologically.’
Duval went on to claim that his comments were not transphobic.
‘I don’t got no problem with transgender, I ain’t got no problem with gay people. I got a problem with somebody trying to take something from me. In my own mind, I say what I feel. This is only about one situation, and the situation was ‘what would you do if you found out somebody was a man that I thought was a woman, and didn’t tell me she was a man.’
Lil’ Duval is still facing criticism for his comments and his refusal to apologise.