Far-right Daily Wire host Michael Knowles called for eradicating “Transgenderism” during this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) but insisted he did not call for killing transgender people.
In his speech, Knowles’s claimed that “For the good of society, and especially for the good of the poor people who have fallen prey to this confusion, transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely — the whole preposterous ideology, at every level.”
In response to Knowles’s speech, multiple publications published stories saying he called for eliminating trans people and many influential figures accused him of advocating genocide.
Knowles then claimed that wasn’t what he meant and called for retractions. On Twitter, he called out Rolling Stone’s headline, which originally stated, “CPAC Speaker Calls for Transgender People to be ‘Eradicated’”
“This headline is libelous, and I demand a retraction,” he wrote, tagging the publication.
An article in the Daily Wire called out other publications, like Huffington Post and Yahoo, for the same thing, explaining that Knowles was calling for the eradication of an ideology rather than people.
And more than one publication gave in to Knowles’s demands.
“Just like [The] Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast bowed to right wing pressure to change their headline,” wrote Ari Drennen, the LGBTQ program director for Media Matters. “This is more than mere cowardice. This is joining in the campaign to reduce the very existence of trans people to a matter of ideological disagreement.”
Rolling Stone’s update did manage to call out Knowles for his tantrum, updating its headline to “CPAC Speaker Calls for Eradication of ‘Transgenderism’ — and Somehow Claims He’s Not Calling for Elimination of Transgender People” while also adding interviews to the story commenting on Knowles’s call for a retraction.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if by using the inflammatory term ‘eradicate’ Mr. Knowles specifically meant trans people should be killed,” added senior Lambda Legal attorney Carl Charles, “What does matter is the reality of what he is saying and the impact it is having and will have at this particular moment in history.
“He is advocating that trans people should not be free to live their lives with dignity and autonomy like Mr. Knowles presumably does — instead, they should be relegated to non-existence: carrying on in secret and shame and living a lie for the rest of their days, which, he must realize, will mean some trans people opt not to do.”
On a recent episode of his show before the conference, he said he wasn’t calling for genocide because “genocide refers to genes” and “transgender people is not a real ontological category.
“There are people who think that they are the wrong sex, but they are mistaken,” he said. “They’re laboring under a delusion. And so we need to correct that delusion.”