Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Disabled World editorial blasts Autism Speaks

Thomas C. Weiss, a regular columnist for Disabled World, has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Autism Speaks' video "I Am Autism" with an editorial entitled Autism Speaks: Friend or Foe?

Although Mr. Weiss indicates in the article that he had been a supporter of Autism Speaks in the past, he also makes it very clear that after watching the "I Am Autism" video, he now sees the organization as anti-disability:

"I Am Autism speaks so badly of the current leadership at Autism Speaks that I have to wonder how long the likes of Mark Roithmayr and Elizabeth Emken can remain in their current positions. The organization of Autism Speaks as a whole will most likely experience a reduction in donations from the public at large due to this horrendous production…"

Mr. Weiss further goes on to liken Autism Speaks' hateful message to the Nazis' attitude toward disabilities, bluntly stating that he finds Autism Speaks' international influence to be terrifying in light of its destructive message:

"…the organization Autism Speaks would have people believe that People with Autism are plague-carriers. Autism Speaks likens People with Autism to family-destroying, misery-creating, hope-crushing, woe-enhancing, sleep-depriving, marriage-killing monsters. Autism Speaks presents People with Autism as being an instant ride to bankruptcy.

Not since reading about Nazi Germany have I seen such an outright negative portrayal of People with Disabilities. The fact that Autism Speaks is *supposed* to be supportive of People with Autism makes me absolutely shudder with disgust. I am not alone where this dismay at an organization that declares itself to be promoters of Autism and People with Autism yet presents such a hateful and destructive message is concerned…

…Instead of placing value on people with autism, Autism Speaks has presented them as some kind of horrifying monsters, loose in society and bent on destruction. Autism Speaks wields immense amounts of money and power, with the ability to sway massive numbers of people in societies across the planet in relation to Autism. They are not using these abilities to the benefit of People with Autism."

Many thanks to Mr. Weiss and Disabled World, as well as the many cross-disability organizations and individual activists who have expressed their opposition to Autism Speaks' hate speech, for standing with the Autistic Community in solidarity.

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  • "hateful and destructive" is right. That's all AutSpks has ever been toward us. I hope we some more members of their board bailing out on them because of this terrible video. It puts their hypocrisy out in the open.

    By Blogger Clay, at 4:20 PM  

  • good article. the people autism speaks represents are elitists that believe in 'perfect' people and would love nothing more than to get rid of all 'imperfects'. they desire to mainstream this thinking into society to make their crazy message of demonizing and perhaps genocide of 'imperfects' appeal sympathy to the elite. it's disgusting and i feel that this lobby org needs to be looked into by a third party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:46 PM  

  • I just put up a new post about this whole thing. And yes, after seeing this post, my feelings are reinforced that Autism Speaks' pedestal is "crumbling like a stale cookie." My post couldn't be truer in these circumstances!

    By Blogger TheWiredOne, at 5:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:46 PM  

  • I'm an adult with autism. A couple of months ago, after growing completely fed up with the false labels people stick on me, I started my own blog (http://nakedjoy.blogspot.com) just to remind myself that my life is actually good, and I'm more than a stereotype. So I misunderstand people and they misunderstand me sometimes...it's not the end of the world. It happens.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:52 PM  

  • @Kelly: I'm glad to hear that you've started a blog that shows your self-determination. I'd suggest posting about this "I Am Autism" video that has so highly offended us. Here is my latest entry. I think abfh must be looking a lot on the blogosphere today. I saw a lot of new links in the "Solidarity" post, including my three latest blog entries.

    By Blogger TheWiredOne, at 6:36 PM  

  • ABFH, how influential is "Disabled World"? By itself I mean. I'd love to see a publication with influence blast Autism Speaks. That'll up the ante well and truly.

    No offence to everyone who has blogged about this of course. Numbers are important as well.

    Personally I think it's about time government was informed of this latest tack by Autism Speaks. Maybe Ari already has (I hope so!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:44 PM  

  • Timelord -- do you mean like the New Scientist article that just reported on the controversy?


    By Blogger abfh, at 9:44 PM  

  • Check it out, from my favorite Science mag:


    By Blogger VAB, at 3:06 AM  

  • Oh yes, ABFH! That's influential!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:08 AM  

  • Oooh, ouch! Looks like Autism Speaks can't ignore the many people who are pissed at them, doesn't it? New Scientist has its own Wikipedia article, website, and everything!

    By Blogger TheWiredOne, at 2:54 PM  

  • New Scientist is the most influential non-peer-reviewed science magazine in England. It's kind of the equivalent of Scientific American.

    By Blogger VAB, at 4:12 PM  

  • When I wrote the article about the Autism Speaks, 'I Am Autism,' production I was in tears. I couldn't believe the absolutely hateful attitude towards not only actual People with Autism, but Family members and anyone who is a Friend as well. What an absolutely HORRENDOUS demeanor for a supposedly, 'supportive,' organization to take. 'I Am Autism,' comes across as ignorant, ugly, and extremely anti-disability.

    Thomas C. Weiss.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:01 AM  

  • Thomas, thank you for visiting my blog and for your support in writing your article. Many others also have said that the video's hateful message left them in tears. Such ignorant anti-disability attitudes have no place anywhere, and certainly not from an organization that claims to be speaking for the people it shows in such a negative light.

    By Blogger abfh, at 1:18 PM  

  • My pleasure! I am a persons with a number of different disabilities. While I do not have autism, I do have a deep interest in writing about people with disabilities like us. You can contact me through my site at: http://accezzability.com. I would also point out to the person who asked that Disabled-World.com has over 400 categories of information and 30,000 articles related to us - People with Disabilities, Seniors, and others who experience health conditions. The site is family-friendly and the Langtree's are wonderful people.

    Tom Weiss.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 PM  

  • Would like to share your stories on Autisable.com. Please touch base if you are interested.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:43 AM  

  • Hate Crimes Legislation and People with Disabilities - http://accezzability.com/OCT09/HateCrimes/HateCrimes.html

    Thomas C. Weiss.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 PM  

  • Note that Elizabeth Emken does not hold a position at Autism Speaks any longer.

    She is running for congress.

    By Blogger Sullivan, at 9:24 PM  

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