Two of the Real Housewives of New York have put their expensively pedicured feet in their mouths. While attending a fashion show during New York Fashion Week, cast members Sonja Morgan and Dorinda Medley made transphobic comments about model Yasmine Petty.
In a video posted to Twitter, the pair can be heard saying problematic things about Petty’s body.
“Well, with a body like that, it’s a guy,” Medley says as Petty walks down the runway wearing a beautiful, plunging black gown by Garo Sparo. “That’s a guy.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Morgan replied. “Oh Lord.”
This conversation this took place at designer Sparo’s “queer inclusive” runway show, where the Real Housewives stars were sitting in the front row. The two made similar comments about Miz Cracker of RuPaul's Drag Race, who was also in attendance at the show. While Miz Cracker does not identify as transgender, Petty is a trans woman.
Although Medley initially published a video of the exchange to Instagram, it was swiftly deleted after backlash.
While some fans expressed shock and outrage following the controversy, others pointed out that the Real Housewives franchise has a history of transphobia. An oft-cited example was castmembers referring to Countess LuAnn Lesseps — who has not been among the show's core cast since New York's seventh season — as “Lu-Man.”
Petty has responded to the controversy by telling the New York Post gossip outlet Page Six that she knew Real Housewives was filming at the Sparo show and heard the remarks as she was walking the runway.
“It’s pretty disheartening and disappointing, especially this day and age and being in New York City,” she said.
“My philosophy is that people can’t choose their sexual orientation,” Petty continued. “They can’t choose their gender identity. They can’t choose or not choose to have a disability or a mental illness or even their race, but things people can choose to do is not be rude and cruel to people over things they have no control over.”
To their credit, Morgan and Medley have issued an apology.
“We have a history as long-standing supporters of the [LGBTQ+] community in many ways and apologize for our offensive comments at the fashion show,” they said in a statement.
To be clear, there is no such thing as a “man’s body” or a “woman’s body,” and you certainly can’t judge that from the vantage point of a fashion show. In addition, saying you’ve been a longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ people doesn’t mean that you can’t still say transphobic things, and it definitely doesn’t give you a pass to take your insecurities out on other women.