Backlash to Rapper T.I.'s ‘hymen check’ comment prompts New York legislation
The ill-fated T.I. interview where he talked about policing his daughter’s virginity — an exchange he now says he was “joking” about — may be enshrined forever in New York state law.
The rapper’s words apparently horrified New York state lawmakers Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Michaëlle Solages (D-Nassau), who have filed bills in their respective legislative bodies that would make it illegal for medical practitioners to perform so-called virginity examinations.
“Hymen examinations are completely unscientific and unethical,” Solages tweeted Monday.
Rapper T.I. says he was joking about supervising annual hymen checks on his daughter. “From a place of truth, I began to embellish and exaggerate,” he says.
“It’s misogynistic, it’s appalling. ... If a celebrity can impose his power to ensure his 18-year-old daughter gets checked, imagine what can be done in households across New York state?” she told the New York Post over the holiday weekend.
Solages wants to make violation of the law a Class D felony, according to TMZ. Practitioners could be found guilty of professional misconduct or sexual abuse, depending on the setting where such an exam took place. It’s unclear why New York lawmakers are taking up the issue, as T.I. is from Atlanta.
T.I. made headlines early in November when he said on the “Ladies Like Us” podcast that he went to the doctor annually with his daughter for a “hymen check” to make sure she was still a virgin.
“I say, ‘Look, doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Man, just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously,’” he said, referring to “results” that legally belong to his daughter. The episode was taken down online shortly after it dropped.
“‘Virginity examination’ shall mean any practice or procedure used to determine whether a female has previously had sexual intercourse,” the bills read. According to medical professionals, checking the hymen is not an accurate means of assessing whether a woman has had intercourse.
In a follow-up interview last week on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show “Red Table Talk,” the rapper clarified that the exams on his daughter were done when she was 15 and 16 and that he was not present in the room — wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris was.
The Ladies Like Us podcasters apologized Thursday for how they reacted to rapper T.I. talking about having his virgin daughter’s hymen checked annually.
T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr. and who’s also known as Tip, said he had no idea how sensitive people would be to a blunt discussion of the state of his daughter’s hymen. “Nooooo, I did not,” he said on Smith’s show, with an amazed look on his face. “I understand it now. Yes, I do, absolutely.”
But he felt like his actions had been misrepresented.
“I never said I was in any exam room. That is an assumption. That is a falsity. I never said it was being done present day, as an 18-year-old. I never said that her mother wasn’t present.”
T.I. said his silence in the wake of the initial interview came at the request of his daughter, who later gave him “different directives” that allowed him to explain himself.
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