The transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner, who said on Friday she is running for governor in California, accepted an apology after being misgendered on ABC’s daytime talkshow The View.
“Don’t sweat it, Joy Behar,” Jenner, 71, tweeted early on Saturday. “I’m not about cancel culture. I know where your heart is. California has bigger issues than pronouns.”
In a discussion on Friday, Behar, a View co-host, referred to Jenner, who won the decathlon in the 1976 Olympic Games and is widely known from the reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, as “he”.
Behar quickly corrected her mistake and a talkshow insider told the New York Post: “This was not political or her taking a dig.”
Voters await details of Jenner’s policies in her campaign to unseat Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor who is the subject of a recall campaign mounted by state Republicans.
As well as a number of state GOP leaders, the porn actor and reality TV star Mary Carey and the model Angelyne, who rose to prominence in the 1980s after she was featured in a series of iconic billboards around LA, are also in the running.
Jenner announced her candidacy on Friday, writing “I’m in” on Twitter and saying: “California is worth fighting for.” A statement mentioned her intent to cut taxes, repair the economy and fight special interests. Jenner also called herself an outsider and the only candidate “who can put an end to Gavin Newsom’s disastrous time as governor”.
Political consultants have noted that fame helped elevate another Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to the governorship nearly 20 years ago.
“It would be a mistake to view her of one of these circus candidates,” Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, told the Associated Press.
While Jenner lacks Schwarzenegger’s political roots – the bodybuilder and film star had championed schools funding and headed a fitness council for President George HW Bush and was married to a member of the Kennedy family – Jenner can immediately avail herself of reality TV fame and 3.5m followers on Twitter.
“The politics of celebrity are going to enter in this in a big way, just like they did in 2003” when Schwarzenegger was elected, David McCuan, chair of political science at California State University, Sonoma, told the AP.
Jenner has not won acceptance from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. Equality California said it would oppose her candidacy, citing her ties to the Republican party including being advised by a former campaign manager for Donald Trump, Brad Parscale.
“Make no mistake,” the group said. “We can’t wait to elect a trans governor of California. But Caitlyn Jenner spent years telling the LGBTQ community to trust Donald Trump. We saw how that turned out. Now she wants us to trust her? Hard pass.”
Jenner supported Trump in 2016 before distancing herself over the administration’s reversal of a directive on transgender access to public school bathrooms and opposition to transgender people serving in the military.