On his 7/23 MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough said upon hearing about the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, he immediately knew the shooter must be “on the autism scale.” In response, more than 8,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org asking Scarborough to retract his statement and apologize.
The petition (www.change.org/morningjoe) was launched by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg of Brattleboro, Vermont, after she heard Scarborough’s statement. Rachel had this to say about starting her petition:
“I’m 54. I’m a wife, mom, writer, graduate student, and disability rights activist. I’m on the autism spectrum. I started the petition because I am concerned about the perpetuation of the stereotype that people on the autism spectrum are incapable of empathy, human connection, or ethical behavior. Joe Scarborough owes an apology to our community and his viewers because his statement just isn’t accurate.”
Scarborough has since responded to critics without apologizing by saying that people “missed my larger point.” Rachel says she doesn’t consider this an apology.
You can watch signatures grow in real time on Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s Change.org petition here: www.change.org/morningjoe.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s pretty obvious here these days that anyone in the media who utters anything derogatory about anyone is going to come under fire. The common mistake seems to be a poor apology or none at all—at the time when it is needed (immediately or soon thereafter). Yes, Freedom of Speech is important and hosts (which make mistakes) should not be muzzled at all times. But just apologize and the problem will be nipped in the bud!