Mario Lopez angered LGBTQ advocates this week after comments he made about transgender children in a recent interview came to light.
In a June 23 appearance on “The Candace Owens Show,” the “Saved By The Bell” star and “Extra” host was asked about the “weird trend” in Hollywood of celebrity parents allowing their children to “pick their gender.”
“I’ve had children say they were mermaids, I’ve had children say they could fly,” said Owens, a conservative conspiracy theorist and Fox News commentator. She then brought up Charlize Theron, whose 7-year-old child, Jackson, reportedly identifies as transgender. “I am trying to understand this new Hollywood mentality where they just think their children now have the mental authority,” she added.
Lopez responded by saying he was “trying to understand it myself,” adding that he didn’t want Owens to consider him a part of “that whole” group of celebrities.
“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,” the father of three said in the interview. “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 this determination then.”
He continued, “When you’re a kid, you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid.”
Lopez’s interview with Owens was more than a month ago, but his remarks began making social media rounds late Tuesday following a Yahoo Lifestyle write-up.
Among those to criticize the remarks was “Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown, who also pointed out that Lopez had conflated gender identity and sexuality.
LGBTQ rights organizations GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG felt similarly:
Later in the interview, Lopez also offered an eyebrow-raising assessment of recent of the Me Too movement’s “believe women” message, noting, “People lie — and sometimes those people are women.”
“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,” he told Owens, “and [she] just decides to tell a certain story that’s not even exactly true.”
The remarks on trans youth were particularly striking given that Lopez, a devout Catholic, has been an advocate for LGBTQ causes in the past.
UPDATE July 31, 2 p.m.
“The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” Lopez said in an email sent to HuffPost through his representative. “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,” he added.
Watch the full “Candace Owens Show” interview with Mario Lopez below.