Louis Theroux has said that he regretted the way in which he addressed a transgender prisoner while filming the 2008 documentary Behind Bars.
The documentary saw Theroux spend time with the inmates of San Quentin State Prison, including one, called Deborah, who was a trans woman.
“There’s moments where because of the nature of sensitivities now, and how much more educated we are, the conversation would take place in a different way,” Theroux said, in an interview with UniLad.
According to Theroux, he had not been informed of the inmate’s gender, and so had arrived at the cell expecting to meet a cisgender man.
“I arrive at the cell and I’m told that this person is called Deborah,” he said. “And Deborah comes out with long hair and with a kind of traditional feminine affect. And I say, ‘do you consider yourself a woman?’ And she says, ‘yes, I’m a trans woman now’.
“It is completely in the context of the time, kind of unexceptionable exchange, but now I would have phrased it properly,” he continued. ”’Do you identify as a woman?’ Or you use a different language.”
In the voiceover for the episode, Theroux also misgenders the inmate.
Theroux made the comments ahead of a forthcoming four-part career retrospective, Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge.
Life on the Edge begins on BBC Two at 9pm on Sunday, 6 September, and will see the beloved documentarian revisit some of his past projects.
Watch video below