Lorraine Kelly responds after repeatedly misgendering Sam Smith and calling them ‘fella’

Lorraine Kelly (L) responds to misgendering non-binary singer Sam Smith (R).

ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly has responded to backlash after she repeatedly misgendered non-binary singer Sam Smith live on air on Thursday morning (13 July).

Grammy award-winning singer Sam Smith came out as non-binary – using they/them pronouns – in March 2019. Over the past four years, the “Unholy” hitmaker has been vocal about their gender identity journey while battling attacks from right-wing bigots and constant misgendering from high-profile figures including Bob Geldof, Richard Madeley, Noel Gallagher – and various radio and TV hosts.

Now, Lorraine Kelly has joined this number after misgendering Smith while discussing the singer’s outfit for the European Barbie premiere on her chat show.

The premiere, which took place on Wednesday (12 July) in London’s Leicester Square, was a true fashion extravaganza with the pink carpet awash with countless fabulous outfits.

While many of the attending stars opted for an all-pink ensemble – or an outfit inspired by one of the many Barbie dolls from over the years – Smith made a powerful statement with their look.

The 31-year-old singer, who has form when it comes to hitting back against fatphobic trolls by unapologetically celebrating their body, showed up in an oversized sweatshirt with the embroidered words “16 XL” paired with floor-length baggy jeans.

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Sam Smith attends the Barbie European Premiere. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Sam Smith attends the Barbie European Premiere. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Discussing Smith’s outfit, Kelly said to model and TV personality Vogue Williams: “It’s a bit big for him. If he was my son, I’d be saying, ‘Son, that’s too big for you’ … He’s going to stand out. He knows what he’s doing, does that fella.”

While a visibly uncomfortable Williams spoke about Smith using the correct pronouns, they didn’t attempt to correct Lorraine.

Social media users shared their frustration at Kelly’s flippant misgendering.

“I guess Lorraine didn’t get the memo about Sam Smith and their chosen pronouns, awkward,” one wrote.

“It’s they/them for Sam Smith – Vogue knows. Lorraine on the other hand couldn’t give a s**t!” another posted.

In a since-deleted tweet responding to one critic on Twitter, Kelly emphasised that her wording had been unintentional.

“Fair comment Ollie,” she wrote. “Not in the least intentional but will take on board – thanks for bringing to my attention.”

Smith has previously shared their forgiving approach to being misgendered, saying in an interview with Zane Lowe in 2020 that “everyone messes up”.

In a separate interview with the Australian talk show The Project that year, Smith also shared that even their mum has misgendered them since coming out.

“I say to my mum all the time – she will be calling me ‘he and him’ and she is getting angry at herself and it’s OK,” they said. “But it is important, you know?

“All I can say is that when people use my pronouns correctly, it’s a wonderful feeling. I feel safe, I feel happy, and I feel completely seen.

“I trip up too! Of course I do, I’m a human being. I have been called ‘he and him’ since the day I was born, you know, 27 years of my life, so I can understand,” they explained.