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Tell Showtime/Gary Owen Use of the R-Word is Not Okay

This petition had 12,228 supporters

We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating.  The results are disastrous:  racism, sexism, fear, violence, and even terrorism.  They all have the same root: demonizing someone who is different.  Some think it’s funny.  We don’t. We think it’s horrific and we’re asking you to help us stop it.

Showtime’s comedy special, “I Agree with Myself,” includes Gary Owen’s disparaging use of the word “retarded” to describe his cousin with intellectual disabilities.  His routine ranges from being insulting to people with intellectual disabilities to being dangerous in that it recalls practices ranging from institutionalization to infanticide.  He mocks their speech, mocks their love, mocks their sexuality, mocks them as people and worst of all, does so without any qualms or hesitation.  He can pick on his cousin.  Why?  According to him: because she’s “retarded.”  Apparently, she isn’t worthy of even the most basic dignity.  To him.

None of this is funny.  At all.  It is callous and gratuitous verbal violence.  It is infuriating and dangerous and should not be condoned by citizens, corporations, or leaders.  We are determined to stop it.

Please join us in signing the petition to demand that Showtime remove this segment of the comedy special from their air and implore Gary Owen to apologize for his use of the R-word and take the pledge to not use the R-word. 

Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and supporters from around the world recently marked our eighth annual Spread the Word to End the Word® Day to continue building a culture of welcome and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities, their families and the rest of us too.  We stand ready to welcome Gary Owen to meet our athletes and buddies and learn more about their identities and their vision for the future.  We have no doubt that he, like so many millions of others, will be won over by their dignity and by their sense of humor, too. Our communities are open and welcoming and we hope Mr. Owen will join us.   

Use of the R-word, “retard” or “retarded,” is hurtful and painful and, whether intended or not, is a form of bullying.  Eliminating the use of this word is a step toward respect for all. Please show your support for inclusion for all and sign this petition today. 

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