CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A local TV news reporter and anchor has stirred controversy, and has apologized, after making disparaging comments in response to former Olympian and celebrity Bruce Jenner’s rumored gender transition.
Audrina Bigos, who works for TV news station WCCB, is a contestant in radio station Kiss 95.1 FM’s “The Radio Apprentice,” a contest that hopes to find the station’s next radio personality.
During her Jan. 27 appearance on the station’s morning show, Bigos allegedly referred disparagingly to rumors of Jenner’s transition. Jenner himself hasn’t confirmed these rumors, though he is due to star in a new TV show sharing his “personal journey” and step-daughter Kim Kardashian has spoken out in support.
“He’s our dad so we support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he’ll talk about whatever he wants to talk about,” Kardashian recently told ET Online. “I just think it’s his story to talk about, not really mine.”
Bigos was apparently discussing those rumors and the January 2015 issue of In Touch Magazine, which featured a feminized photoshopped image of Jenner and the headline, “My Life as a Woman.” Activists have decried the magazine’s cover as insensitive and offensive.
One listener shared on Facebook that Bigos said she was “forced to see it on a magazine cover at a grocery store and it was completely disgusting.”
Minutes later, the listener said, Bigos repeated her “disgust” in reaction.
“While we are all entitled to our own opinions, what I find completely disgusting is how a nationally syndicated radio show can allow such hateful speech to be spread without a thought of who it might hurt,” listener Amanda Whittington shared publicly on Facebook. “When Audrina made the comments, nothing was said to her or about what she had just stated. This not only reflects poorly on Audrina, but also on Kiss 95.1’s corporate image.”
qnotes reached out to Bigos for her response to the concerns. She sent a short written statement apologizing for the remarks.
“I understand that what I said offended some people and I want to genuinely apologize for that,” Bigos said in an email.
Whittington’s post prompted replies from a variety of listeners, some who took to 95.1’s Facebook page to address their concerns.
“Thank you for your comment. As you stated everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and hers does not reflect Maney’s or Kiss 95.1,” the station responded to one comment.
Kiss 95.1 alluded to its record of support for local LGBT groups and causes in response to another commenter: “Kiss 95.1 is a very LGBT friendly station, please don’t let a ‘one day fill-in’ host’s comments speak for all of us. Thanks for expressing your displeasure.”
Another listener said the station’s statements weren’t good enough.
“It’s not this ‘one day fill-in’ host that is speaking for you, Kiss 95.1,” Mattye Dane wrote. “It’s your lack of action in condemning her hateful, bigoted speech. Your bland, blasé responses are just as good as saying you side with her. We demand a public apology.”
qnotes attempted to reach 95.1’s market manager and program director. Requests for comment have not yet been returned.