He said he wasn't offended when Williams asked him what his "birth name" was. https://t.co/AbnOY6rxvF— PinkNews (@PinkNews) September 11, 2018
Robbie Williams, popstar and former member of British boy band Take That, landed himself in hot water over the tone deaf question he asked a trans man as a judge on ITV's X Factor this past weekend.
Felix Shepherd's audition, where his rendition of Kodaline's "All I Want" earned him praise from the judging panel, aired this past Saturday. In his clip, Shepherd commented that he hoped to prove that he was "more than just a transgender guy" as he participated in the audition program.
With all the sensitivity of a bull in a china shop, Williams then asked Shepherd, "So when you were born, what was your name?" This line of questioning sparked a controversy online, with one commenter calling Williams "darn rude" and another commenting that, due to Williams' insensitive actions, X Factor was now "dead and finished."
Asking a trans person their birth name (or "deadname") is widely seen as inappropriate, if not outright transphobic. However, Shepherd himself has since said that Williams asked "if it was OK" to ask about Shepherd's prior name (in an unaired segment), adding that he "wasn't offended by anything he said, so that's the most important thing."
Shepherd later tweeted about the issue:
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I just wanted to say that I was in no way offended by Robbie’s question but, I do realise everyone is different!— Felix Shepherd (@felixjshepherd) September 9, 2018
Thanks for all the support 💜