US Big Brother in autism criticism
- 20 Feb 08, 12:15 PM
The subject of differences between acceptable and unacceptable disability language in English-speaking countries has come up a number of times on Ouch's blog, as well as on our messageboard, over the years. Now, according to Digital Spy, a US autism advocacy group called Autism United has asked American TV network CBS to officially apologise for a comment made by one of the contestants in the current run of the Stateside version of Big Brother.
And the biggest irony of this story? The contestant in question claims that he works for an autism foundation.
Adam Jasinski, who is 29 years old and hails from Florida, was talking on the show about how he wanted to win and scoop the big cash prize so that he could build a hair salon where "retards can get it together and get their hair done". Oh, that's nice then - he was only thinking about disabled people's need for a fashionable hair style. Bless!
But Adam didn't stop there. When another contestant challenged him and said he shouldn't use that term, he replied: "Disabled kids. I can call them whatever I want. I work with them all day, OK?" Um, Adam - surely you should know better then, shouldn't you?
Autism United have been trying to contact CBS to make an official complaint, but in the meantime the network has released a statement calling Jasinski's statement "offensive". Yes, and I wonder what the disabled kids he worked with made of it?
Incidentally, Adam might like to know that a few years ago, Ouch readers from far and wide - including America, presumably - voted "retard" as their most offensive disability-related word.