I am sick and tired of feeling like fucking Cassandra when I tell people about Jon Stewart being a raging ableist. And now I have video proof: the interview with Naomi Watts which I saw over my fall break a year and a half ago, which made me erupt in fury and instantly lose all respect for Jon Stewart.
I’ve come close to being triggered by people on here, including my friends, treating him as some kind of savior. (I mean, shouldn’t the “Rally For Sanity” be big enough of a clue that he isn’t the biggest friend of disabled folks?)
I can’t watch the video because I know I’ll be triggered again, but the words he said are etched into my brain: ”Uh yeah, this is a benefit AGAINST autism, not FOR autism. Who out there is saying ‘Go Autism!’?”
Jon Stewart has been dead to me since October 7, 2010. And if you can see this and still support him, you may as well be too.
I reblogged this originally back when it was first posted, but yeah, I sort of doubly triggered myself by watching this again (and reading the notes on this post), but yeah. Jon Stewart is a piece of shit and I’m not sorry for thinking so, and if you are going to rush to defend him? You’re terrible and feel free to unfollow me right the fuck now.
"Who would support something FOR autism? Wouldn’t that be cruel?" No. No, it wouldn’t. Fuck you, Jon. Fuck you.
Content Warning for personal story including censored ableist slurs, internalized ableism, stealth eugenics references, and strong emotional reactions.
I’ve watched The Daily Show with John Stewart since I was around 11 years old. I loved his show. It was Jewish (whoot, representation!), funny, and dealt with topics I enjoyed.
In 2008 when he did that fundraiser for Autism Speaks called “Night of Too Many Stars” which featured Colbert, just by the way, he mentioned it on the show. I will never fucking forget what he said. (It was the exact same shit as before.)
You know 10/11 year old me did when he said that? I fucking cried. John Stewart made me fucking cry when he said that.Because who could be “for autism?” Yeah, I’m just a mistake. I actually threw shit at my TV I was so pissed. Because I knew I was nothing more than just a r****d. Just like everyone said. Because I shouldn’t have been born. After all, one of my fucking idols said it, so it must be true. And there’s an organization out there making sure people like me never get falsely born again.
Wouldn’t want more lazy, st***d, fucking r****ds like me, right? Us fucking burdens on society.
Just in case you ever wanted to know why I hate Autism Speaks so fucking much, or why I turn off the TV whenever Jon starts talking about autism? This is why.
This was terrible but also I think it’s worth noting he has learned and grown a lot in the years since. The 2012 Night of Too Many Stars, while it had some problematic bits, stopped donating to Autism Speaks. Stewart talked about Naoki Higashida’s book The Reason I Jump as one of the most eye-opening books he’s ever read and mentioned he was impressed by, among other things, how Higashida doesn’t want to be cured. His recent extended interview with Ron Suskind about Life Animated reiterated that the point of services shouldn’t be to cure autism but to help autistic people do the best they can do with the skills they already have.
There’s a difference between basic ignorance and willful ignorance. Both can be equally hurtful, but the best approach for response differs. People like the heads of Autism Speaks are willfully ignorant with their steadfast refusal to listen to even the autistic people they hired in token positions. Most people who’ve supported Autism Speaks, however, tend to be simply ignorant and if they’re taught right they can stop being so hurtful. Jon Stewart fortunately seems to be the latter case and is learning from his past mistakes. So to take a terrible mistake of the past when he’s shown to have learned better and claim this is proof of him being “a raging ableist” (as opposed to someone who has done some ableist shit in the past but has learned from those mistakes) is a bit misleading and conterproductive.
Hmmmm. Okay that’s good to know but I’m still skeptical, especially since I’ve heard another account of this event that made it sound like it was something that came off mostly as lip service and didn’t show a commitment to change. I mean, the fact that he still holds fundraisers for Autism Speaks, which makes no bones about wanting a cure, still reeeeeeally sets off my alarm bells.
But also what you say in your last paragraph disturbs me because it’s seeming to want to dictate how I react to triggers. I start to feel almost physically ill because of Jon Stewart because of the event that I described in the original post, and it’s nobody’s business but mine whether I choose to forgive him or not. Which I most certainly don’t.
So yeah, that’s a less harmful stance but I still think he’s shit. Especially since he and Colbert have also been known to make extremely frequent transmisogynist jokes. Also he harassed a woman of color in defense of his racist warm-up comedian.
He’s not holding fundraisers for Autism Speaks anymore.
I don’t mean to dictate your reactions. You have every right to feel however you do about Jon Stewart. I personally feel uncomfortable calling people shit for things they did years ago when there’s clear evidence of change. People need to be called out on their shit, but I don’t think it makes them shit, necessarily. Otherwise we’re all shit. I don’t think that; we’re only shit if we aren’t willing to learn and improve ourselves. Since the petition telling Stewart and Colbert to stop making transmisogynistic jokes gained steam last year, I can’t recall them making any such jokes this year, and Colbert did a great interview with Janet Mock (http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/02/21/op-ed-stephen-colbert-showed-piers-morgan-how-its-done). Now, it’s disappointing they haven’t made a direct public apology, but their actions show improvement I think that speaks for itself.
Again, I don’t mean to dictate your personal reaction by giving my reaction. You have every right to not forgive as you see fit.