On Wednesday 4th July 2012, 50 Cent saddened and alienated many of his followers on Twitter and members of the general public that are either affected by or know others that are affected by autism.
Having received a tweet from one of his many followers that seemed to cause offence, a response which branded the sender as disabled by saying “Yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic” has caused mass outrage.
Such a way of making feelings known is merely childlike. Names and insults are usually shouted out on the school playground between little children who are looking to cause trouble or retaliate.
These outbursts are not meant in a vicious way, however, and are not intended to create a feeling of hurt.
Twitter is not the place to revert back to these infantile methods of retaliating though.
Adults should really know better too as hopefully, maturity changes a person.
For 50 Cent, this did not seem to be the case as he made the decision to use the autistic spectrum as an insult.
An insult which may have been taken on board by autistic people and those who care for them to a greater extent than the tweeter who was targeted originally.
Holly Robinson Peete, an American actress who recently appeared in 21 Jump Street as Officer Judy Hoffs in a reprisal of her role from the original television series, openly shared her disappointment in an open letter on the tweet’s consequences for those that were affected by it.
With such a response from a prevalent advocate of autism coming to light, a spark of anger towards the comments was unleashed.
What was 50 Cent’s response to this though, I hear you ask?
An apology. Simply an apology which carried a short and hopefully, meaningful, message:
“I realize my autism comments were insensitive, however it was not my intention to offend anyone and for this I apologize.”
Now, this sign of regret for what was earlier said is hardly as deep and meaningful as many of his song lyrics, but it seems to appear that he feels a sense of remorse for what he said in the past.
I’m choosing my words carefully here, as seems is the perfect word to describe the brief tweet in the eyes of some of the autistic people and family members that have been affected by his actions.
Neither Robinson Peete or 50 Cent have shared their views with me, despite being offered the opportunity and despite an initially positive response from Robinson Peete, but I have received a number of responses on social media.
Marcia is critical of the apology’s sincerity as she says: “I don’t know if an apology is enough. Is the apology sincere, or is it to save face? Did his publicist write his apology for him?”
She goes on to say: “Maybe someone should use the toothpaste example on 50 Cent. Imagine your words are like toothpaste.
“Make him squeeze some out, and explain that those are the hurtful words that he just said. Now make him try and put them back into the tube.”
Ed shared Marcia’s concerns by saying: “I think it’s something posted by his PR”, while other comments eluded to further ways of rectifying a serious error.
The idea that has come out as possibly the most educational amongst readers of My Autistic Life is that 50 Cent should publicly speak out on autism. Perhaps a way of showing his knowledge of not only Asperger’s Syndrome but also that of the autistic spectrum?
Janet said: “I think autism awareness groups should petition him to do public service events that promote autism awareness”, while Stefanie said: “He can show he is sorry by volunteering with the special needs community and learning first hand about autism.
“He will see for himself how much he can learn from the autism community.”
As these quotes go to show, there is more work to be done than just a quick apology.
Why not follow the advice of those that are affected by autism and do a little more, 50 Cent?