Mario Lopez backed away from what he admitted were "ignorant and insensitive". But while many people on social media condemned the remarks, others showed support with the hashtag "I Stand With Mario Lopez," which was trending on Twitter.
During a 40-minute interview with conservative host Candace Owens, Lopez said it was "dangerous" for parents to support young transgender children. Owens called raising transgender children a "weird trend" in Hollywood.
"I'm blown away too," Lopez replied. "I'm never one to tell anyone how to parent their children... if you come from a place of love, you can't go wrong."
"But, my God, if you're 3 years old and you're saying you're feeling a certain way and you think you're a boy or girl, I think it's dangerous as a parent to make that determination then," he continued. Lopez said it's "alarming" and there may be repercussions later on.
His comments, made on Owens' YouTube show in June, sparked backlash online Wednesday. Lopez later released a statement, saying his comments were "ignorant and insensitive," and that he is "going to use this opportunity to better educate" himself.
Despite the backlash, some Twitter users said they stood with Lopez and that there was nothing wrong with the comments he made — including Donald Trump Jr. He shared a clip from the conservative PragerU YouTube channel, which is standing by Lopez's comments as well.
Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of the conservative site The Daily Wire, also found nothing wrong with Lopez' comments. And conservative comedian Terrence K. Williams tweeted his support for Lopez, encouraging others to stand with him.
On Twitter, supporters shared the #IStandWithMarioLopez hashtag. But while some said he did nothing wrong, others said Lopez's comments were harmful and Lopez and Owens were uneducated on the issue.
"I'm disappointed to read [Mario Lopez'] comments about parent's who support their child's openes [sic] about their gender identity," Queer Eye star Karamo Brown tweeted. "As a social worker I am trained to identify abuse or neglect of a child. Healthy & safe dialogue w/ kids is neither abusive, neglectful or 'dangerous.'"
Some critics said Lopez should be "canceled." Brown said instead, "he should be given the opportunity to learn why his comments are harmful to trans youth and their parents. Mario, I'm ready to talk when you are."
Brown's "Queer Eye" co-star Jonathan Van Ness also weighed in. "If you're not raising a child who is part of the LGBTQ+ community you should really be quiet," Van Ness tweeted. "You don't need to understand what you do not know. You both need to do better, your causal transphobia is par for the course. Christianity says leave judgment to god."
During the interview, Lopez and Owens continuously confused gender and sexuality during their discussion. Gender and sexuality are two separate aspects of a person's identity.
Gender refers to a person's identity as male, female, a continuum or blend of both, or perhaps conforming to neither. Sex refers to a person's biological makeup, while sexual orientation is about who they are attracted to. Experts say transgender individuals do not "choose" their gender or sexuality.
GLAAD also responded to Lopez' comments, saying they spoke with his current employer, "Extra," a syndicated entertainment news program. "We spoke with Extra and it is clear that the showrunners do not support or share his view," GLAAD tweeted. "They will address this issue on the show tonight. Lopez clearly needs a primer on trans issues. We reached out to his team to see if and how he will correct the record."
In another tweet, GLAAD wrote: "Medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that [Mario Lopez] shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children."
Lopez is set to join NBC's "Access Hollywood" as a host in September. NBC Universal declined to comment.