A conservative journalist received a serious clap-back on-air for misgendering Sam Smith and attempting to discredit their nonbinary identity.
Douglas Murray had written an article for The Telegraph Monday critical of the singer, who recently came out as nonbinary, called "Vacuous liberal wokeness is now beyond parody."
Afterward, Murray appeared on BBC Radio 4 Tuesday to continue to criticize Smith as well as the BBC for respecting their preferred pronouns in its reporting — and plug his new book in the process. Smith now identifies as they/them.
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as non-binary. I don’t think there’s any such thing, and I think a lot of people know that too," Murray said. "But because we’re so bad at discussing it, the BBC immediately starts to say, ‘OK we’ll massively distort and maul our language if somebody’s got a claim.'”
In the segment, Murray chose to misgender Smith and attempted to undermine the authenticity of their coming-out journey. Thankfully, his closed-minded views did not go unchallenged. Afua Hirsch, a former reporter at The Guardian, put his bigotry into historical context and questioned why the right-wing reporter felt so "threatened" by Smith's identity.
“At every point that there has been change — I would describe it as positive social change — there have been voices like Douglas’s who’ve said, ‘This is madness, why are we having to use these silly terms and be so politically correct,'” Hirsch said. “The same thing was said about feminism in the 70s, the same thing has been said about not using derogatory words towards people from ethnic minority backgrounds."
“I think it’s healthy to have conversations about these subjects, but I read your column Douglas, and I felt that it almost verged on bullying," Hirsch continued. "This is somebody who has made an expression of [their] identity and how [they] want to be described and I don’t know why you feel so threatened by it.”
Turning his own words against him, Hirsch also pointed out that it was Douglas, not Smith, who was engaging in a "weaponization of identity" through the demonization of other marginalized communities in his writing.
“I do find it very ironic to hear Douglas talking about the weaponization of identity, because throughout his career he’s spoken about identity in a highly weaponized way," Hirsch said.
“He’s talked about the threat of Muslim immigration, of whiteness disappearing and being in jeopardy, this is a very racialized way of looking at the world and it highly weaponizes these very same issues.”
Watch Hirsch school Douglas below.