Lisa Vanderpump was accused of being transphobic after making a joke about Erika Jayne tucking during an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills earlier this month.
On May 30, HollywoodLife revealed that Vanderpump’s longtime friend, Lance Bass, had addressed the controversy while attending the 29th Annual Environmental Media Awards.
“That affected her pretty badly. Everyone jokes around all the time and this particular joke she was talking about drag queens, not transgender people and there is a difference and people just put those together,” he explained.
During the episode in question, Vanderpump was seen addressing a lie detector test she passed in regard to the “puppy gate” scandal currently unfolding on the show. And, in her cast confessional, Vanderpump joked that she shouldn’t be asked about her co-star tucking because she wouldn’t be able to lie. A short time later, a number of celebrities — including transgender actress Candis Cayne and Vanderpump’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills co-star, Lisa Rinna — slammed the comment.
Rinna even suggested that Vanderpump’s statement was “transphobic.” However, as Bass explained, the transgender community is different from the drag community — and when it comes to Vanderpump’s joke, she was discussing drag, not transgender people.
Bass also pointed out that Vanderpump’s co-star, Jayne, has frequently made jokes about tucking herself. Bass said that while Vanderpump’s joke wasn’t a hit, she knew what she intended to say, and has owned her statements.
After Vanderpump made the comment — and faced backlash for doing so — she offered a public apology to those offended, and made it clear that she was not intending to hurt anyone when she joked about Jayne tucking. Vanderpump then mentioned that she has been quite supportive of the entire LGBTQ community, giving them her support — and offering many individuals from that community employment at her various restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
“I have nothing but respect and love for trans people around the world, as I have been a staunch supporter, provided employment offered emotional support and championed LGBTQ issues,” Vanderpump told Page Six in a statement. “With recent news of trans women losing their lives for living their authentic truth in a world of discrimination and hate, I never want to diminish the very real pain and struggle that trans people go through every day.”
For more of Vanderpump and her co-stars, don’t miss new episodes of the ninth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The show airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on Bravo TV.