i know nothing of this flap, but i knew a person who worked on one of his
fundraisers and he told me that the man was arrogant and rude and that it
was more of making hisself look good than the kids. but only what i was
From: Patrick Cook [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2001 12:38 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Fwd: Should Jerry Lewis continue? CONDENSED VERSION (sorry
'bout the earlier one!)
I got this in my email. Some of the quotations in the sample letter in it
makes it almost UNBELIEVABLE that they were said by Jerry Lewis. One can
only hope he doesn't mean those words...
[log in to unmask]
>Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 17:48:12 EDT
>From: [log in to unmask]
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Fwd: Should Jerry Lewis continue?
> I'm forwarding this letter written by one of my PHAMALy members,
>Jerry Lewis. I had no idea this was going on. But I feel now that Lewis
>not deserve to continue being the spokes-person for a population he
>obviously is clueless about. Please pass this on to all you know. I think
>people have a right to know what our beloved "Cinderfella" is really all
>about. He needs to be replaced with someone who understands first hand what
>it is to be disabled. Someone who does not believe in pity parties.
>What do you think?
>Subject: Should Jerry Lewis continue?
> >Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 23:30:12 -0600
>Please read the following letter regarding Jerry Lewis
> >recent comments on people with disabilities. I have edited the letter to
> >protect all those involved...there will be a demonstration in Denver
> >today to protest the MDA's decision to allow Jerry Lewis to continue as
> >their spokeperson.
> >Dear Mr. Xxxx:
> >I have waited all week, expecting that the Muscular Dystrophy Association
> >would be issuing some kind of statement in an attempt to explain,
> >or somehow rationalize statements made last Sunday by Jerry Lewis. I
> >understand why or how MDA would decide to remain silent, thus giving
> >approval to Lewis' arrogant and venomous remarks.
> >Interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning, Jerry Lewis was apparently asked for
> >thoughts about people with disabilities who object to his
> >of our lives as pitiful and pathetic. To those individuals who take
> >exception to the pity-promoting tactics he uses in soliciting donations,
> >Lewis offered the following advice:
> >"Pity? You don't want to be pitied because you're a cripple in a
> >wheelchair? Stay in your house!"
> >I believe this is, to date, Lewis' most direct attack against the
> >disability community. His 1991 Parade magazine article, in which he
> >referred to people in wheelchairs as "half persons," certainly showed
> >grotesque insensitivity, and hostility to the value of the people he
> >to serve. When, several years later, Lewis called children with muscle
> >diseases "mistakes who came out wrong," he made his prejudice even more
> >obvious. And when he claimed that Telethon protesters were "sitting in
> >chairs I bought them," he was using an outright lie in an attempt to
> >discredit people who disagree with him.
> >Now, Lewis has outdone himself. He expressed his undisguised contempt for
> >the idea that people with disabilities are entitled to dignity and
> >People with such unreasonable expectations, according to Lewis, should
> >invisible and confined at home.
> >Mr. Ross, is it now the official policy of MDA that pity is the only
> >possible response/attitude toward disability; and that people who want
> >from life should "stay in [our] house[s]"? In other words, does MDA
> >Jerry Lewis' insistence that we, people with disabilities, should quietly
> >accept other people's pity, regardless of the cost to our dignity and our
> >quest for equal citizenship?
> >Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the history of oppression of people with
> >disabilities in the United States (although your organization has, in a
> >small way, contributed to it). For over a century, cultural attitudes,
> >physical barriers, and social policies have combined to keep many people
> >with disabilities out of public life, and segregated from the community.
> >These barriers included inaccessible buildings and buses, lack of
> >support services, and even state laws making it illegal for "deformed"
> >persons to appear on public streets. In other words, we were compelled to
> >"stay in our houses."
> >Jerry Lewis' comment, therefore, is not some random, meaningless insult.
> >Rather, it invokes a specific history of severe, widespread, longstanding
> >discrimination. It seems to be a calculated slap in the face of the
> >community of people with disabilities.
> >If you and MDA do share Jerry Lewis' outdated, bigoted views, then I can
> >understand your continued reliance upon him as a spokesperson for your
> >organization. If you do not, then why do you continue to indulge him,
> >tacitly condoning his increasingly hostile statements?
> >Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxx
>Pass this on to people you know, hopefully the power of the world wide web
>can open MDA's eyes.