The show "Pretty Little Liars" has dug itself into a hole with a tweet many are calling transphobic.
On August 24, the ABC Family show's official Twitter account sent out a post to its more than 3 million followers with a wildly problematic caption referring to Charlotte DiLaurentis, a transgender character on the show. "He. She. It. Charlotte. #PrettyLittleLiars," the caption read.
Though the tweet has since been deleted, Parker Molloy, a writer for Upworthy, took a screenshot before it was taken down and posted it on Twitter.
The character Charlotte DiLaurentis, born Charles DiLaurentis, is a trans woman on "Pretty Little Liars" and was revealed to be the show's villain known as "A." Though the original post no longer exists, it continues to receive negative attention and criticisms for the pronouns it used to identify the transgender character. Twitter users quickly reached out to ABC Family (@ABCFamily) and the show's official account (@ABCFpll) to condemn the language used in the tweet and accompanying graphic.
The account has since reposted the original graphic with tweet text reading, "She came. She saw. She conquered." The graphic itself, however, still features a quote in which the character is described with "he" pronouns. Twitter users pointed out the repeated misuse of pronouns and implored the account to pay more attention to the way it discusses transgender characters.
After reaching out for comment on the deleted tweet via email, The Huffington Post received this response from ABC Family spokesperson Jori Arancio:
This tweet was in reference to lines Spencer and Hanna have said in previous episodes venting their frustration about not knowing the identity or gender of their tormentor (“A”). It was spoken by these characters a season before they found out that “A” was a transgender character. We updated the reference by including the name Charlotte because it was revealed that Charlotte is “A.” Once it was tweeted we realized that it could be misinterpreted, and in no way wanted to offend anyone, so we immediately deleted the tweet.
In light of the tweets, showrunner I. Marlene King shared a post on Instagram. She explained the show's cast, crew and creators are not involved with the show's accounts and also shared her support for the LGBT community.
"I encourage all people to be their true selves. And offer my support to the LGBT community," she wrote in the caption.
"Pretty Little Liars" received backlash before when the villain known as "A" was revealed to be a trans woman. In a blog for The Huffington Post, Brynn Tannehill, director of advocacy for LGBT military community SPARTA, explained the show reinforced "negative stereotypes" of transgender people.
"They managed to create a character that simultaneously exemplifies all the negative stereotypes that prevent transgender people from getting jobs, receiving health care, finding housing and being accepted as who they are by their families," she wrote.
With these recent tweets, it looks like the show has a long way to go when it comes to its representation of transgender people.
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