The LGBT community did not succeed in canceling “Access Hollywood” host Mario Lopez (yet), but they did succeed in forcing him to apologize for criticizing parents that “transition” their children’s gender at ages as young as three.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the former “Saved by the Bell” star denounced his previous comments as “ignorant and insensitive” while vowing to be more “thoughtful” in the future.
“The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” Lopez said. “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.”
Mario Lopez faced severe backlash on social media for comments he had made during an appearance on “The Candace Owens Show” this past June. At the time, Lopez said it was “dangerous” to have children choose their gender.
“Look, I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong,” he said. “But at the same time, my God, if you’re 3 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 — ‘Okay, well then you’re going to be a boy or a girl,’ whatever the case may be. It’s sort of alarming and my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on.”
“When you’re a kid … You don’t know anything about sexuality, you’re just a kid,” Lopez continued. “I personally think it’s just way too young to start making these … I know other parents who have certain parenting styles that I necessarily don’t agree with, but I do know they’re good people and they’re coming from a good place.”
The “transitioning” conversation centered on actress Charlize Theron, who told the Daily Mail back in April that she began treating her three-year-old son like a girl the moment he told her, “I’m not a boy!” Theron also defined parenting as simply celebrating her children as they wish to be, rather than as serving as a guide to help direct children.
“I have two beautiful daughters who, just like any parent, I want to protect and I want to see thrive,” Theron said at the time. “They were born who they are and exactly where in the world both of them get to find themselves as they grow up, and who they want to be, is not for me to decide.”
“My job as a parent is to celebrate them and to love them and to make sure that they have everything they need in order to be what they want to be,” Theron continued. “And I will do everything in my power for my kids to have that right and to be protected within that.”
“Access Hollywood” has issued no statement on the matter.