Taika Waititi: Transphobic Tweets Resurface From 2013

Taika Waititi poses backstage with the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay during the live ABC Telecast of The 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 9, 2020. (Nick Agro / © A.M.P.A.S.)

Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi is in hot water this week after nine-year-old transphobic tweets resurfaced from 2013.

I’m not sure how the tweets first resurfaced this week but the tweets went viral as the Thor: Love and Thunder filmmaker was ratioed on Twitter. In the first tweet, the Jojo Rabbit filmmaker writes: “No disrespect to men who want to be/dress as woman. I should have just said their makeup looks manly. Also no disrespect to meth users.”

Taika Waititi, transphobic tweet, transphobic tweets

Waititi doubled down in the replies to the above tweet. After a Twitter user, @carocreature, points out “Slut-shaming, transphobia, and immense misogyny all in one tweet” is “not cool, the filmmaker immediately doubled down and writes, “no, it is cool.”

No, Taika, it’s not cool. You need to apologize. Caro immediately points out that their “trans* friends who struggle with suicide daily due to similar comments hardly think so.” To which the filmmaker responds, “my trans friends can walk in heels. but you’re right, actual kathoey are better looking.” “Kathoey” is a Thai term for transgender women in some cases or effeminate gay men in others. From what I’ve read, the majority of trans women in Thailand do not use this word to describe themselves. According to online texts that I’ve read, the term can also be derogatory in nature.

Taika Waititi, transphobic tweet, transphobic tweets

Transgender women are assigned male at birth. Many trans people tend to know from a young age that something is off. For me, I knew for sure by puberty that something is off. What hurts even more is that he bunches us in with drug addicts. The suicide rate is already very high in the transgender community. In fact, it doesn’t surprise me that there are trans people–before officially coming out–cope with dysphoria-triggered depression by turning to drug addictions. Taika Waititi is in the wrong here and he owes us an apology for his tweets. Beyond his films, the Māori-Jewish filmmaker become an icon for his work with several TV series, including Our Flag Means Death, Reservation Dogs, What We Do in the Shadows, etc. He even plays an LGBTQ character on Our Flag Means Death!

One Twitter user did tweet a thread to provide additional context to the tweets.

The filmmaker didn’t get on my radar until 2017 with the release of Thor: Ragnarok. I’ve been a fan of his work ever since. I didn’t come out to myself as transgender until late 2015 but that doesn’t change the fact that these tweets are transphobic and he needs to apologize. Why he didn’t think to delete the tweets are beyond me.

EDIT: After publishing, I discovered one of Taika’s tweets from April 2015. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it does. In this April 25, 2015 tweet, Taika tweets: “We’ll all be wearing #JeSuisBruceJenner badges by Monday.” In fairness to the filmmaker, Caitlyn’s new name didn’t get announced until over a month later. It doesn’t change the fact that he should have known better.

Taika Waititi, transphobic tweet, transphobic tweets

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.