Lone Survivor director Peter Berg is taking heat after posting a transphobic Instagram meme comparing Caitlyn Jenner’s struggle to that of American veterans.
Berg posted a meme to Instagram that featured a side-by-side photo of a uniformed double-amputee next to a pre-transition Jenner. The caption on the meme reads, "One man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the 'Arthur Ashe Courage Award' by ESPN?"
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After receiving massive backlash on the first photo, Berg posted another picture, an infographic on the statistics of veteran suicides, and clarified his position in the caption.
"I have the utmost respect for Caitlyn Jenner and I am a strong supporter of equality and the rights of trans people everywhere," Berg wrote. "I also believe that we don't give enough attention to our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country and our principals- principals that include the freedom to live the life you want to live without persecution or abuse."
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Even more, AKM-GSI -- the photo agency that owns the shot of Jenner in the meme -- is requesting that Berg remove the post, not only because it "requires proper clearance regarding rights and fees" to use such an image but they also don’t like the context in which it was used.
"AKM-GSI supports both the LGBT community and our nation's troops and applaud their courage," the agency wrote in a letter to Berg’s camp. "To needlessly put these proud groups at odds with one another goes against the very freedoms our armed forces bravely fight to preserve and the sense of inclusion that Caitlyn Jenner is trying to foster."
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Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs Wednesday night with an emotional speech, thanking friends and family and advocating for the trans community.
"I know I'm clear with my responsibility going forward: To tell my story the right way, for me. To keep learning. To do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed, how trans people are treated," she said. "And then, more broadly, to promote a very simple idea. Accepting people for who they are. Accepting people's differences."
"If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead because the reality is, I can take it," Jenner concluded. "But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn't have to take it."
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