Dear Global Members,
As you may have seen the vile comments made by comedian Tom Segura in his Netflix show "Disgraceful" about the R-Word and Down syndrome, I wanted to take a moment to share with you Global’s response to Netflix’s anti-disability, anti-Down syndrome, anti-disability rhetoric.
Below is the response Global put up on our website and social media with the following statement. Also, please find the attached graphic we utilized in our posts. We encourage you to share this on your social media as well and link to our blog post on for any future newsletter posts you may have planned. Please let us know if there is any additional resources that may be helpful.
Martha Cronen Keele
GLOBAL CALLS OUT NETFLIX FOR ANTI-DISABILITY, ANTI-DOWN SYNDROME RHETORIC
With the #Metoo movement in full swing and the 1st Anniversary of the Women’s March looming, it’s shocking to see Netflix promoting its newest stand-up show aptly called “Disgraceful.” Netflix promotes the show by claiming its comedian “…gives voice to the sordid thoughts you'd never say out loud, with blunt musings on porn, parking lot power struggles, parenthood and more.”
Apparently sordid thoughts about the disabled and people with Down syndrome are fair game. In fact, the show’s anti-disability sketch was deemed so funny by Netflix that it is used in their trailer.
At the Global Down Syndrome Foundation we are grateful for the freedoms we have in the US – including freedom of speech. AND YET, we also believe there are words that we are free to use, but as a society choose not to use because they are so directly tied to violence against a vulnerable population. I would argue the ‘R’ word is exactly such a word – witness Willowbrook, NY to Pueblo, CO today. The best essay I have read on this subject is written by our board member and renowned actor, John. C. McGinley (after you read it you will have a “Captain My Captain” moment).
Sometimes it is hard to advocate. I’m a working mom, I’m perpetually tired so I get it. But we can all take a moment to post, like, share, or petition. And WHY NOT demand Netflix to:
o Edit out the anti-disability and anti-Down syndrome rhetoric in the show?
o Immediately take the appalling sketch out of their trailer?
o Issue an apology for momentarily failing to use humanity as the demarcation line for comedic depravity?
What we are asking for is NOT too much or too difficult. There are lots of depraved topics that are funny (disclosure – I’m half NJ Italian) that don’t lend themselves to violence or oppression. So, you can still get that cheap laugh and feel good about yourself.
It’s time to call folks out. Seriously, we have nothing to lose.
Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO, Global Down Syndrome Foundation