Daily Mail Denies Trying to Out 'Matrix' Director Lilly Wachowski as Transgender
"Our reporter was extremely sympathetic and courteous at all times," the outlet says of a writer who visited the very private filmmaker at home.
The Daily Mail is fighting back against charges it forced transgender director Lilly Wachowski out of the closet.
In a moving statement issued Tuesday by Wachowski to Chicago's Windy City Times, the 48-year-old Matrix co-creator revealed that — like her 50-year-old filmmaker sibling Lana Wachowski — she too was transgender.
What prompted Lilly's announcement was a visit to her home by someone from the Daily Mail, which, the reporter explained, is "the largest news service in the U.K." and "most definitely not a tabloid."
According to Wachowski, the reporter said that she "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."
Wachowski remembered that the Daily Mail was the newspaper which had published a story on Lucy Meadows, a British schoolteacher who had undergone sex confirmation surgery and returned to work.
In the op-ed piece, penned by columnist Richard Littlejohn and headlined, "He's not only in the wrong body ... he's in the wrong job," Littlejohn asks readers to consider the "devastating" effects Meadows would have on her young students. After Meadows took her own life by poisoning herself, the Daily Mail retracted the story, but a version exists here.
Daily Mail has issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter responding to these details:
The statement reads:
DailyMail.com categorically denies that it in anyway tried to coerce Lilly Wachowski into revealing her gender transition.
As Ms Wachowski herself says, we were not the first media organization to approach her and we made absolutely clear at several points in the conversation that we were only interested in reporting the story if and when she was happy for us to do so and with her cooperation.
Our reporter was extremely sympathetic and courteous at all times, as is obvious from our transcript of the exchange.
Indeed the conversation with our journalist ended with Ms Wachowski agreeing to call him the following day.
The previous case to which she refers was a UK primary (elementary) school teacher, Lucy Meadows, who planned to return to school after the winter holidays in 2013 with a new sexual identity.
The Daily Mail did NOT ‘out’ her or hound her.
The story emerged after the school wrote announcing the change to parents, some of whom contacted the local media because they were concerned their children might be too young to understand what had happened.
The Daily Mail newspaper, which is a separate editorial operation to DailyMail.com, subsequently carried the personal view of a columnist who, while emphatically defending Ms Meadows’ right to transition echoed some parents concerns about whether it was right for children to confront complex gender issues at such a vulnerable young age.
In the event, it emerged at her inquest that Ms Meadows made no mention either of the press in general or of the Daily Mail in particular in an extensive suicide note.
As The Guardian reported at the time: ‘In a note she left, she made no mention of press intrusion, citing instead her debts, a number of bereavements including the death of her parents, and her stressful job as a primary school teacher.
‘She insisted she was not depressed or mentally ill and thanked her friends, family and colleagues for their support, as well as messages she had received from well-wishers around the world.’
We wish Lilly Wachowski well with her journey though we are surprised as to how she has reacted, given the courtesy and sensitivity with which the reporter approached her.