Good Morning Britain’s Richard Madeley apologises for getting Sam Smith’s pronouns wrong

Richard Madeley and Sam Smith

Good Morning Britain host Richard Madeley has been corrected twice live on air after getting non-binary star Sam Smith’s pronouns wrong, as well as the pronouns of guest Shivani Dave.

Madeley, who seems to be a bit behind on the importance of using people’s correct pronouns, used he/him when taking about Smith in a debate about the singer’s latest I’m Not Here to Make Friends music video. 

During Monday’s (30 January) show, hosts Madeley and Susanna Reid attempted to discuss alleged “controversy” surrounding Smith’s latest music video with guests, radio presenter Shivani Dave and journalist Alex Phillips. 

Touching on the visuals in the video, Madeley said: “For the purposes of this debate, let’s just read out the stuff we didn’t show you.

“Men film from behind, gyrating while wearing leather trousers with the bottom cut out in a heart shape, a shot of him… Sam.” 

Susanna Reid was then quick to interject and said: “They… remember Sam Smith uses the pronouns they,” to which Richard Madeley responded: “They, yes, sorry.” 

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Good Morning Britain  hosts Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid (centre) with guests  Shivani Dave (left) and journalist Alex Phillips (right)
Good Morning Britain hosts Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid (centre) with guests Shivani Dave (left) and journalist Alex Phillips. (Good Morning Britain/screenshot)

But shortly afterwards, Madeley forget how to use people’s correct pronouns again, and he was corrected by Dave who was forced to interject and inform him that they themself use they/them pronouns.

Madeley responded to getting called out for the second time by saying: “I’m so sorry, I will learn to do that.” 

On Friday (27 January), Smith released the video for I’m Not Here to Make Friends. It’s already had 1.7 million views on YouTube and is trending at number five in the music category – and with such mesmerising visuals, it’s not hard to see why. 

In the video, Smith makes an entrance by sitting on the side of a landing helicopter while wearing a striking pink dress, but it gets better from there with burlesque-inspired outfits and catchy choreography. The video is a must-watch. 

Recently, Smith revealed that after publicly coming out as non-binary in 2019 and changing their pronouns, they faced a wave of abuse.

Speaking about the difficulty of changing pronouns in an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Smith said: “The amount of hate and s**tness that came my way was really exhausting and hard. 

“This isn’t me sitting at home googling my name and seeing things, that’s something I can control.

“What people don’t realise with trans non-binary people in the UK is it’s happening in the street. I’m being abused in the street verbally, more than I ever have.” 

Pronouns are not simply ‘preferred’, but necessary

However, research conducted by The Trevor Project revealed that many LGBTQ+ young people use pronouns other than he/him and she/her, with one in four using gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them, either exclusively or as a combination with other pronouns.

Internet searches for the word “they” increased by 313 per cent in 2019 when compared with 2018, proving that more and more people are educating themselves on the importance of respecting other people’s pronouns.

Correctly using people’s pronouns has been proven to be associated with better mental health. Doing so helps to create a safe and affirming culture where people feel respected. 

As Association for Behaviour and Cognitive Therapies has reported: “Pronouns are not simply ‘preferred’, but necessary.” 

PinkNews has contacted Good Morning Britain for a comment.

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