So not being connected to the internet for a few days due to my modem dying put me behind the times as far as current events are concerned. Reading through the lovely blogs I follow, I was so saddened and angered to discover the big blow up that occurred earlier this week over the careless words 50 cent rattled off in response to an impatient fan who threatened to shoot him if he didn’t release his new album. He told this fine young gentleman, “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic”. He didn’t stop there, though. He went on to tell any special ed kids to stop following him. Words cannot express my initial response to that. Well, they can, but you’d probably rather not hear it. Too many expletives. I actually sounded like a low rent rapper myself for a bit. I mean seriously, why not just block the ignorant fan? Why offend an entire community of kids and their families that you obviously don’t know anything about? BIG MISTAKE.
I learned of this disasterous misstep when reading one of the best blogs out there on autism, a diary of a mom. She posted such a touching response to this incident that my heart ached after reading it, and not just because I have so been in that same place she was in many, many times. She also made me aware of Holly Robinson Peete’s open letter to 50 cent in which she talks frankly to him about how harmful his comments were and how many of his 8 million followers may actually have loved ones affected by autism – 1 in 88 – and asked him to at least delete his comments. She went on to say:
“If you’ve read your mentions today I am sure you have felt the wrath of autism parents. We are no joke. Neither is autism. We are not about to let you attempt to make “autistic” the new “R-word” under our watch.”
She then sent him a picture of her own son who has autism. After Holly’s post, his twitter account has continued to be deluged with similar pictures so he will know #thisiswhatautismlookslike. I tweeted my own photo today, which I’ve included in this post. 50 cent did delete the offending comments. It also looks like he deleted all of the comments from the families as well and most of the pictures – I only saw one still on his page, today. For some in the autism community, they are waiting for an apology. That has not happened, yet. To me, that silence speaks volumes.
Update posted 7/12/2012: Earlier this week, 50 Cent did finally make a public apology to the autism community. He stated, “I realize my autism comments were insensitive, however it was not my intention to offend anyone and for this I apologize.” (For full story see link here.)