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Man in robot costume crashes television diversity panel with anti-LGBT heckling

Jess Glass June 9, 2018

(@DinoRay /Twitter)

A man dressed in a homemade robot costume has heckled a panel about diversity in television with anti-LGBT slurs.

The unidentified man was in a panel entitled “Breaking the Binary” during the ATX TV Festival on Friday when he began to interrupt and heckle the speakers.

During the discussion about representation that featured two non-binary panellists, the man began to interrupt with comments about being “binary” and making robot noises.

(@DinoRay / Twitter)

Panellists initially humoured the man, who then began to march down the aisle and cause a scene.

Presenting the panel were “Take My Wife” creators and stars Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, and actor Nico Tortorella, along with “The Bold Type” star Aisha Dee.

Tortorella approached the costumed heckler, who reportedly responded: “you look like a queer” before attempting to talk to the audience as security attempt to remove him.

Related: RuPaul says Trump’s Presidency has led to a rise in LGBT television

The incident was captured by Deadline editor Dino-Ray Ramos, who later stated that the panellists had “handled this incident like pros.”

The crowd can be then heard chanting “go away” repeatedly as the man was escorted out of the room by security.

“We still love you though, we hope you find whatever you’re looking for in life!” said Tortorella, who earlier this year married their partner in a beautiful ceremony.

Esposito, who made headlines in 2017 with her searing criticism of President Trump, took to Twitter after the panel.

(@cameronesposito / Twitter)

She wrote: “Today a human dressed up as a robot to yell queerphobic things during a panel I moderated on ‘breaking down the binary.’

“People doing homophobic nonsense: where do you find the time?”

Many people praised the panellists on social media for the panel and how they managed the heckler.

Some saw the humour in the bizarre incident, with one person stating: “what a giant waste of a robot costume.”

Butcher and Esposito (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Esposito, Butcher, Tortorella and Dee continued the panel after the man was removed, discussing visibility and representation in television.

Butcher, a non-binary comedian, told the audience: “When you can portray universal stories through these lenses, that’s when you can make it feel normal.”

They added: “I want to make the road less bumpy for those behind me.”

More: anti lgbt, ATX Festival, Cameron Esposito, diversity, entertainment, heckling, LGBT, nico tortorella, non-binary, Rhea Butcher, television diversity

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