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Jeff Lewis causes flip-out over transgender comments

Susannah Breslin is a blogger and writer. She covers all things culture, from celebrities and Hollywood to movies and style. She's written for Harper's Bazaar, Details, Salon, Slate, Esquire.com, and The Frisky.com.

'I inherited a crack addict'

After a recent interview, reality TV star Jeff Lewis has come under fire for comments others say are homophobic.

jeff lewisJeff Lewis, star of Bravo's real estate rehabbing show Flipping Out, is known for saying what's on his mind, but a new interview with real estate site Curbed has stirred up a debate over comments Lewis made about a "transgender crack addict."

"Normally when you buy a house, the house is delivered vacant," Lewis recounted, when asked about the worst property he had ever worked on in his career. "I thought it was delivered vacant, but when I started the demo I realized there was this basement that I didn't see during the inspection, and there was a transgender crack addict. A lot of times when you buy a house you inherit a feral cat or a raccoon or something, but in this particular case I inherited a crack addict -- no joke! It took me a couple of weeks to get rid of he/she. But I didn't even know he/she was living there. It was pretty crazy."

Those words raised eyebrows among gay activists, who found Lewis' use of the phrase "transgender crack addict" offensive.

The Advocate pointed to Dr. Jillian T. Weiss' critique of Lewis' choice of words: "Transgender people are human beings, and not to be used as the butt of your jokes, regardless of their poverty or sobriety issues. You should immediately change the title of this piece and erase that prejudiced remark."

Lewis is openly gay.

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