Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, part of the network’s so-called “news”-side team, and guest Tyson Langhofer, an attorney from the extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), misgendered a trans student while promoting one of ADF’s anti-trans court cases. The segment was about a judge recommending to dismiss an ADF case in which the group was defending a professor who refused to use a trans student’s correct name and pronouns.
Since June 2018, Bream has interviewed ADF attorneys and clients in six different segments. In each segment, Bream gave ADF’s lawyers a platform to spew anti-LGBTQ misinformation and promote the group’s different cases against nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. ADF has a cozy relationship with Fox, and ADF officials seldom appear on other cable news networks; in fact, no one from ADF has appeared on CNN or MSNBC weekday programming in at least the past two years. Notably, ADF attorneys have appeared on Fox News seven times in 2019.
During the September 5 interview, Bream discussed ADF’s case Meriwether v. The Trustees of Shawnee State University with Langhofer and the case’s plaintiff Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at the university. ADF filed the case against Shawnee State University after the university took action against Meriwether for repeatedly misgendering a transgender student during class. Misgendering is the practice of referring to someone “as a gender other than one that a person identifies with” and is a form of harassment that unduly stigmatizes trans folks. It also goes against journalistic standards.
At the beginning of the segment, Bream, who has made a practice of misgendering trans people, referred to the trans student as “biologically born male but transitioning to female.” Langhofer also misgendered the trans student, who is a woman, while defending Meriwether’s anti-trans actions. Langhofer stated that Meriwether was “willing to refer to this student with his last name or his first name.”
Meriwether said that he wanted “to be extended the same respect and dignity” that he claims to extend to his students, even though he demeaned his student by repeatedly misgendering her. As ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford has noted, a Shawnee State University investigation stated that Meriwether communicated that he “does not recognize transgenderism — he specifically stated that he believes transgender is a lie and mental illness” and “discussed the ‘wrongness’ of transgender people.”