Joe Hildebrand on Twitter the other day:


It’s funny because these people already suffer prejudice and disadvantage and adding to it and making light of it makes me feel edgy.

Stella Young at the ABC responds:

Hildebrand’s tweet is offensive because it uses disability as a shortcut to mean “crap”. And in doing so, he reveals a subtle and no doubt unconscious contempt for disabled people that is still rife in our culture. At best, it displays a blatant ignorance of the very real barriers faced by people with disability, some of which, ironically, are employment and air travel. At its worst, it assumes that jokes like these are okay – because they’re not about anyone important. Perhaps it’s assumed that people with intellectual disabilities won’t ‘get it’ anyway. That they can’t be hurt by a joke they don’t understand.

Let me assure you, intellectual disability does not preclude you from being aware that you’re being made fun of. It doesn’t stop that kind of bullying from being hurtful. And sadly, this kind of ridicule is all too familiar for people with intellectual disabilities. It doesn’t stop when they leave the schoolyard because, unfortunately, they continue to cop it from their adult peers for the rest of their lives.

Joe sees how he’s unnecessarily hurt vulnerable people and apologises defiantly fights back for the right of the privileged to crush the spirits of the disadvantaged:

“Just want to say how sorry I am for using the words “mentally handicapped” in a tweet. That was really retarded of me.”

“Just want to say I’m sorry for offending so many people by using the word “retarded” in a tweet. That was really Irish of me.”

“Sorry I just offended so many people by using the term “Irish”. Just having a blonde moment.”

He’s a comedy god, isn’t he?

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