Mario Lopez Apologizes for Controversial Comments About Raising Transgender Kids

TV host Mario Lopez is apologizing after receiving backlash for controversial comments he made about parents raising transgender kids. He issued a statement that noted his comments during a June interview were “ignorant and insensitive.”

Mario Lopez controversial comments transgender
Mario Lopez | John Lamparski/Getty Images

What did Lopez say?

Comments the Extra host during a June appearance on The Candace Owens Show only just recently made headlines, but once the interview began circulating, Lopez faced massive criticism.

During the interview, conservative commentator Owens and Lopez discussed the entertainment television host’s son’s “boyish” interests. Owens noted that she found it “a weird trend” when celebrities, like Charlize Theron, allow their children to choose their gender identity.

She believes that kids don’t have the “mental authority” to identify a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, comparing a child’s claim of being transgender with make-believe play, such as pretending to be a superhero or a mermaid.

Lopez waded into the discussion, beginning with the statement, “I’m kind of blown away, too,” and noting, “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 continued, “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.”

He continued, “It’s sort of alarming, and my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on.” When the two conflated gender identity and sexual orientation, Lopez asserted: “When you’re a kid… you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid.”

Lopez faced backlash for the controversial comments

Once the interview made the rounds, people were not happy with the former Saved by the Bell actor’s comments, with many taking to social media to share their concern over what he had said.

The Human Rights Campaign tweeted: “Mario Lopez’s comments are dangerous to the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth, especially trans children who deserve to be loved and accepted for who they are.”

GLAAD tweeted: “Medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that @MarioLopezExtra shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children.”

Lopez apologizes

In response to the backlash, Lopez released a statement apologizing for his “ignorant and insensitive” remarks. In a statement to PEOPLE, he shared:

“The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were. 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.”

During the interview, Lopez also said he believes that social media campaigns like #MeToo and #BelieveWomen are dangerous “because people lie — and sometimes those people are women.”

He explained: “God forbid you have a son out there and a girl may have felt a certain way about a situation — dismissed, hurt, whatever — and is feeling vengeful.”