Marshall McPeek, Chief Meteorologist for WSYX-ABC6 and WTTE-FOX28 in Columbus, Ohio, insulted attendees at the annual convention of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association in Palm Springs over the weekend. While delivering opening remarks during Saturday’s closing reception, McPeek addressed the audience as “ladies and gentlemen, things and its…” He immediately apologized and voluntarily resigned as a member of the organization.
But the damage was done. McPeek’s comment drew instant outrage on social media. Several attendees walked out of the event.
NLGJA released a statement on Sunday, condemning the emcee’s choice of words.
“Last night NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists celebrated the closing of its national convention in Palm Springs,” the statement read. “During the closing reception, Marshall McPeek, a volunteer emcee, made an inappropriate, unscripted remark that does not reflect our values. He returned to the stage and apologized. He has also voluntarily resigned his membership in the organization.
“We’ve worked hard for many years to make NLGJA an inclusive organization for transgender and nonbinary journalists. People were understandably hurt and offended by last night’s remarks. As journalists, we understand uniquely that words matter. We apologize and are committed to working to make NLGJA more inclusive and diverse.”
Based in Washington D.C., NLGJA is the leading network of LGBTQ media professionals in the United States. Its signature event is the national convention, which is held in a different city every year. The convention is sponsored by major corporations and mainstream media outlets.