TORONTO – A Special Olympian has called out pundit Ann
Coulter for using the word “retard” in a tweet to describe President Barack
Obama after Monday night’s third, and final, presidential debate.
Coulter tweeted “I highly approve of Romney’s decision
to be kind and gentle to the retard,” in reference to Republican candidate
Mitt Romney, who strayed away from verbally attacking Obama during the debate.
On Tuesday, Special Olympian athlete John
Franklin Stephens penned an open letter to Coulter, asking
the conservative-leaning pundit why she chose to use the “R-word.”
“I’m a 30-year-old man with Down syndrome who has struggled
with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am
dumb and shallow,” writes Stephens in the letter. “I am not either of
those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.
In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use
of the R-word last night.”
Stephens goes on to say:
“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to
belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that
people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an
insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to
wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.”
Coulter’s tweet prompted harsh criticism from hundreds of
social media users and a statement to TMZ from the Special Olympics
despite our constituents’ regular appeals to her for compassion,” the group
said in the statement. “[We] welcome an open invitation for her to be
involved in an educational meeting with our athletes to understand the
demeaning use of the R-word in everyday speech.”
Stephens ends his letter with the following statement:
“I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but
recoiled from the backlash.
Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me
should be considered a badge of honor.
overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.”
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