As many of you have already heard, this past week talk radio personality Michael Weiner, better known on the air as Michael Savage, made several outrageous remarks in regards to autism, including:
*”Now, you want me to tell you my opinion on autism, since I’m not talking about autism? A fraud, a racket…I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.
What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.”*
A full transcript of his statements can be found here: http://mediamatters.org/items/200807170005.
Remarks like these spread ignorance about autism and threaten to return us to a previous era where parents were blamed and labeled as “refrigerator mothers” for having autistic children.
Not only have Michael Weiner and Talk Radio Networks refused to retract these outrageous comments – they have added to them by claiming, unsupported by science of any kind, that the autism spectrum is an overdiagnosed medical condition. This is part of a broader pattern of statements attacking people with disabilities and our families. It requires a strong response.
As a result of this continued attack against autistic people and the broader disability community, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network has joined with over a dozen national and regional disability rights organizations to call on the sponsors of Talk Radio Networks and the Savage Nation to pull their support.
Together, we have issued a strong joint statement calling for an ad boycott. In addition, we’ve collected contact information for several of the major sponsors of Talk Radio Networks in order to empower our community to take further action.
We urge you to use the information below to write, call and e-mail these sponsors and tell them why it is imperative they join companies like Aflac and Telesouth Communication that have already pulled their ads in response to these hateful remarks. There are over 50 million people with disabilities in the United States with approximately $200 billion in disposable income. It is time for us to make our voices heard.
Below you will find contact information for Talk Radio Networks’ largest sponsors and a sample letter for you to use as a reference point in your e-mails and phone calls. We will be keeping an updated list on our website here and will post updates and changes to contact information as new information becomes available.
In addition, if you would like to express your support for the disability community’s joint statement on this issue, you can do so by signing our petition. Organizations wishing to become signatories to our joint statement should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please distribute this message to your networks and feel free to repost.
“To Whom It May Concern:
As a member of the disability community, I am outraged by the recent comments made by Talk Radio Networks’ host Michael Alan Weiner, also known as Michael Savage, stating that autism is:
* “a fraud…a racket…**In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.” *
Not only have these comments not been retracted but
Talk Radio Networks continues to stand by Michael Weiner as he continues spreading public misinformation about autism. Autism is a very real developmental disability affecting millions of Americans. Public ignorance and prejudice against people with disabilities represent one of the most significant obstacles to full access and inclusion of people with disabilities throughout society. I urge you to take immediate action and pull your financial support from Talk Radio Networks and The Savage Nation Radio Show in response to these hateful comments.”
Acura Public Relations
Mike Spencer, 310-783-3165
730 South Powerline Rd.
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
Campbell Soup Company
Camden, NJ 08103-1701
851 West Cypress Creek Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, United States
Americas Senior PR Manager
Phone: (786) 449-3740
Director, Corporate Communications
Phone: (954) 267-2977
CEO Charlie Ergen: (303) 723-1010
CEO assistant: (303) 723-1005
EchoStar Satellite L.L.C.
Attn: Corporate Communications
9601 S. Meridian Blvd.
Englewood, CO 80112
Senior Vice President Corporate Communications
General Motors, Northeast Communications,
Stockholder line: 313-667-1500
Gallo Winery Spokesperson
Nestlé Purina PetCare:
Simon & Schuster:
Paul Capelli, 508-253-8530
Director, Press and Public Relations
Phone: 703 364 7650
Fax: 703 364 7071
Thank you for your support and please distribute. Our combined activism has and will continue to help us create a world that respects, includes and supports people with disabilities throughout society. Remember, nothing about us, without us!
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network