Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tropic Thunder or Tropic Blunder

Special Olympics Breaking News:
Boycott of "Tropic Thunder"
August 12, 2008

Dear Friends:
On August 13, "Tropic Thunder," a DreamWorks production starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Nick Nolte, Tom Cruise and several other Hollywood actors, will open in movie theaters nationwide. While intended to be a satire on Hollywood actors and producers, the film contains scenes which are offensive and demean people with intellectual disabilities.
In "Tropic Thunder," there is a movie-within-the movie called "Simple Jack...Once upon a time there was a retard" where Ben Stiller plays a simple man with an intellectual disability. Both "Tropic Thunder" and "Simple Jack" contain extremely offensive material promoting the idea that a "retard" is funny. This theme runs throughout the film and occurs on numerous occasions.
The "R-word" is used at least 16 times in one scene alone and portrays people with intellectual disabilities in a derogatory and demeaning way. Special Olympics has joined forces with national disability organizations to combat the use of the "R-word" in everyday vernacular. It is time to eliminate the use of the "R-word" in today's society in much the same way as we have over the years with other forms of hate speech. It is time to acknowledge the value and capabilities of people with intellectual disability and respect and accept them as we would our own friends and neighbors.
I have seen first hand the negative impact the "R-word" has on individuals with intellectual disabilities. When I ask a Special Olympics athlete what they think of the term "retard," they immediately inform me that they just don't like it. It's time for someone to take a stand against this politically incorrect term. I'm taking a stand against the use of the "R-word" along with the athletes, volunteers, family members, coaches and supporters of Special Olympics Oklahoma.
So, what can you do? A LOT! Continue to Be a fan of Special Olympics and human dignity.

Pledge to not use the "R word"

Go to our website for more information and updates

Watch the "R-word" video on-line


Adrian DeWendt, Executive Director
Special Olympics Oklahoma

“None of us with intellectual disabilities like the r-word at all!” said Amy Wollmershauser, Special Olympics Oklahoma Athlete from Tulsa, Okla. “Just because I learn slower doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad when people use that word. A lot of my friends don’t like hearing that word either. When I was in school, kids used the r-word a lot. I work hard just like anybody. I serve on the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Oklahoma; I am a Global Messenger, which means I make speeches about Special Olympics to companies and civic groups; and, I train really hard for my sports competitions. I would like the r-word to disappear completely!”

“When people use the r-word it makes me unhappy, it’s mean, it’s rude and not very nice,” said Chris Paynter, Special Olympics Oklahoma Athlete from Edmond, Okla. “I would like to tell people that when they use that word that it hurts my feelings and nobody should use that word in front of me or in front of anyone.”

C-Word Chink, N-Word Nigger, R-Word Redskin, S-Word Spic, ...... Just words, words that insult people, words that hurt people. R-Word RETARD.....just a word, a word that insults people, a word that hurts people.

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