“The Office” star Rainn Wilson issued an apology on Thursday for a joke aimed at transgender people.
“Yesterday I tweeted a mean crack about breastfeeding vs chestfeeding,” he wrote. “After speaking with some Trans friends and educating myself a bit more I want to apologize for the tweet. It was adding to misinformation and meanness. I’m sorry.”
Rainn had originally tweeted on Wednesday: “TIL you can no longer say ‘nursing or breastfeeding mother’ you have to say ‘chestfeeding person.’ Just FYI.”
The 56-year-old actor, who is best known for playing Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office, had faced backlash from many who took offense at his joke. While many thanked Rainn for his apology, some have called on him to go further.
“[T]hese replies rlly ain’t it, this guy has 4.4m followers and contributed to misinformation and transphobia. words are one thing, but it’s really important to follow them up with action. if he can’t donate, i’m sure he can use his platform towards aiding and supporting trans ppl,” one person said.
Transgender activist Parker Molloy replied to the original tweet saying, “Jesus Christ. Dwight freaking Schrute over here sputtering nonsense straight off Breitbart. (Nobody is telling anyone they have to say ‘chestfeeding.’ That’s just not a thing. JFC).”
Molloy noted: “The ‘chestfeeding’ ‘controversy’ (insofar as there was a controversy) is as follows: A British hospital put out a document that was like, ‘Oh hey, btw, if the person you’re talking about is non-binary or a trans man, be mindful of how you refer to stuff. Here are suggestions.’”
What Molloy was referring to happened in early February of 2021, where midwives in England and Wales were told by their hospitals to use words that offer more support to transgender and non-binary parents by incorporating new gender-inclusive language using terms such as “chestfeeding” and “birthing parents.” They offered other examples such as “pregnant women and people.”
Wilson is the second celebrity to have apologized this month over their words. Earlier this week singer and songwriter Lizzo apologized over a lyric in her new song “GRRRLs” after fans took aim at the line “I’m a spaz.” Spaz comes from “spastic,” which is used to classify certain disabilities.
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