MSP's Transgender 'Joke Gone Wrong' Provides Lesson in Grace

When attempting to be humorous, think twice and post once — or perhaps not at all.

Buffy Naylor, Senior Managing Editor

March 8, 2021

3 Min Read
Transgender symbol

At first, it appeared that an MSP marketing specialist had decided to mark International Women’s Day by mocking transgenders online. But it turned out to be a joke gone wrong, an object lesson in what not to do after accidentally offending someone — and an amazing demonstration of grace.

Millar-post-1.jpgScott Millar of the U.K.-based IT Rockstars posted in a Facebook community that he was going to mark the day by identifying as a woman. The post, which was accompanied by photo in which he had used FaceApp to look like a female, appeared in the “IT & MSP Business Owners Group,’ a private group of more than 10,000 members.

When other members of the group responded to Millar indicating that they found his post to be inappropriate, his response was, “Guys please respect my wishes to identify the way I want.”

Soon after, a response to Millar’s post came from N.B., CEO of a Minneapolis-based IT security and support provider: “I found your joke about identifying as a women for a day distasteful.” To which Millar responded, “Tomorrow I will be identifying as a potato – please respect my wishes.”

N.B. is transgender and told Millar that. She asked for an apology. There was no response. According to Millar, he – perhaps unwisely – maintained radio silence because he didn’t want to offend anyone further, since that had not been his intent in the first place. He told Channel Futures that he had been trying to make a self-deprecating joke and was surprised by the response he received.

The Facebook group in which this took place was founded by Chris Wiser “as a support community for those people working to improve their IT and managed service provider businesses.” Wiser told Channel Futures that the post was quickly taken down. Millar said he was glad to see it removed and thought the matter was over. Still, he did not apologize to N.B. or the group for the post and did not explain his intentions.

Channel Partners and Channel Futures are dedicated to fostering an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion in the channel and the technology community as a whole. Thus, we are featuring news articles, first-person accounts and strategies around topics of race, diversity and inclusion to spur discussion of these important subjects. Visit our webpage dedicated to the topic.

Citing a group rule that prohibits hate speech or bullying, Wiser said that he had intended to remove Millar, but N.B. – who still had no idea that the post was intended as a joke – asked that he not be.

“I want to give him the opportunity to learn from this,” N.B. said. “I want him to recognize he made a mistake and give him the opportunity to apologize. He obviously needs education on transgender people because he doesn’t understand how hurtful these comments are.

“I’ve known I was a woman since I was five years old, and I’ve endured the most hateful things since I came out four years ago. Our right to exist has been challenged in the last year and many states openly discriminate against us.

“I just want others to think twice before they decide to spread transphobia. It really hurts my fellow transgender people. We are struggling right now for equality and acceptance in society.”

Hopefully, Millar has also learned that even the best-intentioned humor doesn’t always translate well online, while an apology usually does.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Senior Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is senior managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like