DM on Lilly Wachowski: ‘Our reporter was extremely sympathetic & courteous’

Yesterday we heard that Lilly Wachowski, a 48 year-old director and part of the sibling directing team known for The Matrix and Cloud Atlas, had come out as transgender. Lilly made history by joining her sister, Lana, who came out as transgender just four years ago. In an essay for a Chicago LGBT paper, Lilly made it clear that while she was out at work and to friends and family, it was not her choice to come out to the public and press yet. She said that her decision was necessitated by a visit from a Daily Mail reporter to her home. She described the visit this way:

Standing on my front porch was a man I did not recognize.

“This might be a little awkward,” he said in an English accent.

I remember sighing.

Sometimes it’s really tough work to be an optimist.

He proceeded to explain he was a journalist from the Daily Mail, which was the largest news service in the UK and was most definitely not a tabloid. And that I really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story which was so inspirational! And that I really didn’t want to have someone from the National Enquirer following me around, did I? BTW—The Daily Mail is so definitely not a tabloid.

[From Windy City Times]

So the Daily Mail reporter showed up announced at her home around dinner time, with the implicit understanding that they knew she had transitioned and wanted to run the story. If she decided not to talk to the Daily Mail, there was the suggestion that the National Enquirer would get the story anyway. Lily also recounted the sad story of the way the Mail publicly outed a primary school teacher named Lucy Meadows in 2012 with faux concern for the children. Meadows had undergone gender reassignment and returned to her position. About three months after an article came out in the Daily Mail misgendering and outing her, Meadows committed suicide. She had filed complaints against the journalist who wrote the piece, who is still employed by the Daily Mail and was not disciplined following Meadows’s suicide.

With all that in mind, here’s the Daily Mail’s response to Lilly’s article, which makes no mention of Meadows.

In her statement Ms Wachowski claimed she was forced into ‘outing’ herself after approaches from several media organizations, most recently categorically denies this.

A spokesman said: ‘As Ms Wachowski says herself, we were not the first media group which approached her and we made absolutely clear at several points in the conversation that we were only interested in doing the story with her cooperation and had no intention of publishing anything without her consent.

‘Our reporter was extremely sympathetic and courteous at all times.

‘We are baffled as to why Ms Wachowski has reacted as she has but we wish her well with her journey.’

[From Daily Mail]

I get their point that they weren’t going to run the story without Lilly’s consent, and if that was the case then that isn’t as bad from a journalistic perspective. But I also see how she saw it as a threat and wanted to get ahead of the story, especially given their track record. Someone showed up at her home, presumably after traveling to get there. It must have felt threatening, even if they were just trying to get a story and even if they meant it when they said they wouldn’t run the story without her go-ahead. (If they did present it that way.)

As we mentioned yesterday, “GLAAD and other LGBT organizations strongly condemn the outing of a transgender person before they are ready to tell their own story,” to quote the Windy City Times.

Thanks to Lennox for the tip

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14 Responses to “DM on Lilly Wachowski: ‘Our reporter was extremely sympathetic & courteous’”

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  1. littlemissnaughty says:

    Uh, the thing is, who would believe the DM if they claimed to not run the story without their okay? Not me. I would assume that if this dude shows up unannounced, it’s an ambush. And if you go that far as a “journalist” – and I’m using that term rather loosely here – then you are prepared to out me no matter what. And the way he went about it is nothing if not rude and f*cked up. Just because he didn’t yell or swear at her doesn’t mean he was polite.

    • Esther says:

      “Uh, the thing is, who would believe the DM if they claimed to not run the story without their okay?”

      yes! as if they would admit “We were blackmailing her and would have run stories like ‘What went wrong in the childhood of the Wachwoski brothers that they are now dressing up as women?’ or ‘Radical Feminism gone mad'”

    • lunchcoma says:

      Yeah, it’s not like the Daily Fail has a ton of credibility on…well…pretty much anything.

  2. Polkasox says:

    I do not believe that the Daily Fail was tactful or gentle about this. They are absolutely a tabloid & im sure the reporter was subtly threatening her. Ridiculous.

    • Amelia says:

      Piers Morgan is the US Editor of the Daily Fail online.
      I think that tells us everything we need to know about their credibility as a news outlet. They’re a disgusting publication and a disgrace. I can’t believe Richard Littlejohn is still employed there, his track record is atrocious when it comes to ethics and fact checking.

      On a lighter note, Lily has epic shade-throwing skills.
      “BTW – definitely not a tabloid.” Gold.

  3. aims says:

    This news is huge, life changing. The only person who should have control over this is the person going through it. It’s simply nobodies business. There is nothing to be ashamed of, going through a life changing thing. It’s courageous to feel strong enough to live the life that is right for you. Intrusive journalists who are trying to sell papers don’t care about the moral or ethical issues.

  4. lower-case deb says:

    i like that ambushing someone at their home is considered extremely courteous.

    i have never had anyone i know professionally who came to my home unless invited. always makes an appointment, if not at the office then at a neutral location that is NOT MY HOME! home is definitely for friends and family only.

    “a bit awkward”, try a lot awkward.
    not a tabloid my arse. employing the same tactics as papparazzi only worse.

  5. Sixer says:

    The Daily Mail (Fail, or even Heil if you want to Godwin them, I wouldn’t blame you) is not a tabloid?! How could someone who works for them even THINK that, let alone SAY it?

  6. Dragonlady sakura says:

    This need to know mentality pisses me off. Forcing someone to come out is despicable. Why are people so obsessed with other people’s business when it doesn’t relate to them at all?

  7. FingerBinger says:

    No matter if it’s gay or trans nobody should ever be outed or threatened with being outed.

  8. roses says:

    Why would anyone trust DM to tell the truth? Wachowski just highlighted their dirty tactics and their now trying to cover their tails in case they get tons of backlash, which they should receive; their scum!

  9. Pickles says:

    Whatever way the DM tries to spin this, there is a reason why Lily felt threatened. As she wrote, there where other occasions where she thought she was going to be outed and wrote a half assed coming out letter (paraphrasing of course). But this time was different. I get the impression that it was “talk to me or will give the story to The National Enquirer”, or some sort of emotional blackmail. Either way, she was forced to come out, she felt forced out, and no one deserves that. This is a positive thing for her and they tarnished it.

  10. TotallyBiased says:

    Daily Mail ==threatening by DEFINITION!
    And they KNOW that!