Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Autism United :: CBS owes Persons with Autism Apology..

Couldn't say it any better than they did below.. From Autism United comes the following (via Glynda King at MHDDAD, hugs)..

For what it's worth, the "r" word (retard, retarded) along with other similar disabilistic references have been making a tremendous comeback in television scripts the last few months.. Oh, for a cheap 'puter to have been able to realtime rock the word in rebuke as they appeared.. :hint, hint, wink:

CBS owes an apology.

People with autism are not "retards."

Last week on an episode of the CBS program "Big Brother" cast member Adam Jasinski referred to people with autism as "retards." This dehumanizing language is unacceptable. When Don Imus used racially callous language on his program CBS executives Leslie Moonves and Sumner Redstone issued an apology, fired Imus and cancelled his show. We call up Mr. Moonves and Mr. Redstone to issue an apology to people with autism and other developmental disabilities, fire Adam Jasinski, and cancel Big Brother.

Please forward this message to friends and family.

If you would like to write to Mr. Moonves and Sumner here is their contact information

Mr. Leslie Moonves
Chief Executive Officer
CBS Corporation
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6188
Phone: 212-975-4321

Mr. Sumner Redstone
Executive Chairman
CBS Corporation
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY
Phone: 212-975-4321

The text of Autism United's letters to Mr. Moonves and Mr. Sumner is below.

We are writing to express our dismay and disgust at comments that were made by Adam Jasinski during the broadcast of "Big Brother" program. In episode 2, Jasinsiki describes his plans to open a hair styling business catering to people with autism who he refers to as "retards."

Just as we are confident that CBS would not tolerate the use derogatory epithets regarding race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation we hope that the use of derogatory terms for people with disabilities in also unacceptable in your programming.

We believe Jasinski should be terminated immediately, and we believe that the show should be cancelled. Further, we expect an apology to people with autism, developmental disabilities and their families from Jasinski, Big Brother, CBS and National Amusements. While Jasinski displayed gross ignorance, the producers of the show chose to use his comments to forward the show's storyline. This displays a conscious choice on their part to demean and hurt a large group of people to further their own commercial goals.

While a large number of people with autism do have mental retardation, a very large portion do not and they are perfectly capable of understanding that they have been denigrated in an extremely demeaning way by a program broadcast for profit by CBS.

Family members of people with autism, especially parents, are constantly challenged by the great deal of misinformation surrounding autism. Broadcasts such as Big Brother makes caring for a family member with autism all that more difficult.

It is appropriate I believe to note that the Holocaust began with the extermination of developmental disabled children in a secret program called Aktion T-4. The techniques, organization and personnel for Aktion T-4 went directly to run the extermination camps at Treblinka, Sobibor and others. All extermination campaigns begin with the de-humanization of the target group. And referring to developmental disabled people and people with autism as "retards" indeed fails to recognize the humanity of people with these disorders.

We have also contacted advertisers on Big Brother, including Saturn, Pfizer, Geico, Bertoli, Lowe's, Theraflu, and Taco Bell and have asked them if they want their products associated with language that demeans people with autism and other disabilities.

Thank you for your time and consideration and we look forward to your response.

Warmest cyber hugs from the hills of North Georgia..



Maddy said...

You're certainly right about one thing, that word has bounced back from a different era. [unfortunately]
Best wishes

Cindy Sue Causey said...

Hi, Maddy..

Thank you so much for typing.. :)

That word and similar have definitely done that (bounced back from yesterday year and into daily dialogue of late) fer shur..

Was re-thinking that very hasty last minute post while leaving here (local library) and walking down to the local Piggly Wiggly yesterday.. Certainly wished I'd had Time to have pursued it further yesterday, indeed..

In rationalizing, reconciling the whole deal, "hate crime" repeatedly comes to mind.......

Were that same person to have uttered a racial slur, epithet in the same vein as is reported to have occurred in place of the "r" word in this instance, it would (surely..?) be denoted racism..

With the Mind wandering openly along that train of thought.......

In that the "r" word is being reported to have been used derogatorily in the Big Brother episode (no, I unfortunately did not witness this firsthand), it comes across to these fingertips as a prime example of..


And, again, holding disablism absolutely no less wholly equal to either racism or sexism as viewed in our Society today, entities such as CBS, in this instance, seriously need to (please) quickly catch themselves up to speed as the disability community fully intends to hold those in charge answerable for such flagrant transgressions against the Human Dignities of PWDs (persons with disabilities)..

Cyber hugs.. :wink: