TODAY show host and gold Logie winner Karl Stefanovic has apologised for using the word ‘tr*nny’ on live television.

Stefanovic used the term during a live cross to reporter Christine Ahern in Rio to describe a group of trans women who mugged Ahern and the Channel 9 film crew hours earlier.

Ahern told the Today show hosts, they had been mugged by “transvestites” and Stefanovic responded by saying the cameraman involved would be fine because he had “fought off tougher tr*nnies”.

During the interview, cameras cut to a wanted poster with an image of Hugo Weaving in his role as a drag queen in the Australian film, The Adventure of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, to which Stefanovic said: “The other thing is Chris, I know that you have gone to see the police about this tr*nny… we have a confit made up and we know they don’t all look the same. Is that the tr*nny they are talking about it?”

It did not take long for social media and news agencies to declare their outrage over Stefanovic’s offensive comments.

This morning Stefanovic apologised for his comments in an almost three-minute solo piece to camera, saying he was not aware that the terms he used were offensive, that he had since been educated on the issue and explained to the audience exactly why it was important to understand why his words were so hurtful in the first place.

“Yesterday I was an ignorant tool… yesterday I got it very wrong,” he said.

“All of you who didn’t see the segment yesterday can learn from my mistake if you choose to, by using the word tr*nny I offended a lot of beautiful, sensitive people.

“I have no idea what it’s like to be born into the wrong body, to feel uncomfortable in your own skin, or the extreme courage it takes to accept yourself and live the life you’ve always wanted to live.

“To anyone who found the segment funny please now understand why it was the complete opposite at the expense of a community already battling against the odds for mainstream acceptance.”

People have congratulated Stefanovic for his sincere and educated response, but some have also suggested he should have known better in the first place.

For anyone who would like more information on trans issues please contact The Gender Centre or Transgender Victoria.

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