Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Note to Wayne Brady RE: Down Syndrome

Dear Wayne Brady,

I'm sure you've heard, "Any publicity is good publicity." I don't care much for Rosanne Barr and don't even have cable television, so it is unlikely I would have ever heard your words at her roast. I had never heard of Jeff Ross either, but I did see a video of your performance.

And I do know who Trig Palin is. He and my son have something in common. They both are little boys with Down syndrome.

In the video, you looked at Jeff Ross who had disheveled hair and was wearing an outfit that made him look childish. (Click here to see a photo. I am having problems uploading one.) You told him that Sarah Palin hates him because he reminds her "of what Trig is going to look like when he's 40."

I watched the video a second time after letting a little of the sting wear off and was surprised to notice that your words actually seemed to be thought out ahead of time. It didn't sound like a joke that just popped in your head and made it's way into audible words without forethought. Then it got even worse! What really struck me was how you then defended yourself by saying, "F*** ya'll" to the audience after they booed you! Apparently, you got roasted yourself earlier in the show and were upset about being booed. You looked seriously upset that people didn't like your joke. Here's the thing: You were at a roast! You chose to be there, and I am assuming you were getting paid to be there. Trig Palin is four-years-old! Come on!

You must not have thought about how those of us that have children with Down syndrome worry about how our kids will be treated. Just the thought of them being made fun of brings many of us to tears. We spend sleepless nights by their hospital beds and hours upon hours of our time watching them struggle through therapies. We hurt because even after all of our efforts, they are still at a developmental disadvantage.

And then we have to worry about people who think all of their disadvantages are funny.

If any publicity is good publicity, what  do you think about all the publicity for Down syndrome that is now on your Facebook page? I wondered if you'd come out and apologize, but that takes a man, and your recent actions aren't too manly to me. I hope your heart will be changed and that you will become sensitive to people with special needs. It is just unfortunate that if it happens, it will happen the hard way, and I am sad about all the mean comments you are receiving. I do not think hateful comments are an effective way to respond, but a lot of people were hurt by your words, and a lot of Mama Bears want to fight for their children.

Someone that used to be a fan
Click here to see Wayne Brady's Facebook page and all the comments from the Down syndrome community. Feel free to add your own. I posted a photo of Levi and said, "Actually my son with Down syndrome is much more attractive than Jeff Ross. Boo to you, Wayne Brady." And I am putting a link to this post there, too.

Click here to read a great article from February about Trig and how he greets each day with applause. 

Earlier today there was a post on Wayne Brady's Facebook encouraging fans to see his performance at Rosanne's roast with a link to the video. The video is no longer available on YouTube, and the post on his Facebook page has been removed.


Anna Theurer said...

I am still flabbergasted by how many media people think it is okay to poke fun of those with disabilities. It just blows my mind.

Becky said...

That is awful. It is sad really to know people feel they need to use a person's disability to get laughs. And, Trig is only four. That is low. I will pray for Wayne Brady because God wants us to pray for "our enemies" if that is what I need to call this situation. An enemy my child will be faced with her entire life...and one God can certainly change. Thanks for this post. Great article too on Sarah Palin. I think back to when we met Sarah Palin at a book signing. She held Kristen with a love only another mother of a child with DS could. It was a moment I will never forget.

Anonymous said...

Go April! Levi is so blessed to have a Mama Bear like you to stand up for him. I am proud of how you did it, too. I know it took self control. Just remember that Levi will have a much happier life than the Wayne Brady's of this world will ever know...

Jenny said...

Great post April! I have been steaming about this since yesterday, Who makes fun of a little boy like that?! Makes me sad.

Twilson9608 said...

Amen! Sharing this!!!

Noah's Dad said...

Thanks for posting this. I also posted a letter on my site asking him to apologize. I hope more people continue to blog about this and not simply let the story die down. Even in art (comedy) there is a line you shouldn't cross.

Melissa said...

I used to like Wayne Brady...not anymore. So sad when you have to make jokes at the expense of a child.

Laura said...

Great job April! I hope Wayne read this and truly understands that his words were not funny at all.