Autism Speaks is an “autism advocacy” non-profit whose board of directors contains zero people with autism. And it’s working hard to make sure future generations of autistic people hate themselves.
Exhibit A is the organization’s video “I Am Autism,” created by Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Y tú mamá también, Children of Men) and Grammy-nominated songwriter Billy Mann (he’s written for Mary J. Blige and Pink). Both are fathers to autistic children who will be royally messed up when they’re older.
Most OTT line in the vid: “I Am Autism…I know where you live…And if you are happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails.”
A response video to “I Am Autism” called “I Am Autism Speaks” re-narrates Cuarón and Mann’s work to creepy effect:
But creepier is this earlier Autism Speaks video from 2007, “Autism Every Day.” To the moms interviewed in the video, having an autistic kid is the worst thing that ever happened to them, prompting quotes such as:
“We’re expected to do things no human being should be expected to do.”
“I had actually contemplated putting Jody in the car and driving off the George Washington Bridge.”
“Yes, in another life, I’d love to come for a bagel.”
The beginning of the video’s just ridiculous – the kids are acting no crazier than my non-autistic self when I was younger.
So, what now?
Even though Betty White is probably the only person who’s ever really benefited thanks to a Facebook group, you can join a group protesting “I Am Autism” here. Apparently Autism Speaks actually took the video off its site (though not its YouTube account) due to public outcry.
Our next job is to get through to my girl Yoko Ono, for whom there isn’t a charity she won’t lend her name to. Yoko was inaugurated as Autism Speaks’s first Global Autism Ambassador last month, and as she told Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira on the Today show, “You see, I didn’t know anything about [autism], just like most people. You know I said, ‘Well, it’s autism,’ OK, and somebody one day called me to do this, I realized suddenly what an incredibly serious situation it is.” If you don’t mind, please send her a slap on the wrist in letter form at Yoko Ono, 1 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023.