Be My Guest Kelsey Hendrix

Celebrities Using the “R” Word

March 3, 2010 by Kelsey Hendrix<!–kelseyeh–>

There is a movement happening that I first learned about through Twitter called “Spread the Word to End the Word”.  The “word” that is being referred to is “retard” or “retarded”.  The word is often used in a disparaging way and the goal is to get people to stop using it in a derogatory manner.

The actual definition of “Spread the Word to End the Word” is found on the Special Olympics Website, and is as follows:

Spread the Word to End the Word is a campaign created by youth, in an ongoing effort with Special Olympics and Best Buddies International, to engage schools, organizations and communities by raising the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encouraging everyone to stop using the R-word.

March 3, 2010 marked the second annual day of awareness to Spread the Word to End the Word, hence the significant trending topic on Twitter.  Someone had issued a challenge to see which celebrities were using the word and to try to get the message across to them to stop.  I did some research and found out which current celebrities often used the word.

1.  Chelsea Handler hosts the late night talk show “Chelsea Lately”.  She averages 764,000 viwers/episode and has over 2 million Twitter followers (Source).  Below is an example of Handler using the word “retarded” in a disparaging manner.

  • “E! tries to tell me, “Ooh, you can’t talk about Denise Richards or Dina Lohan, when they have shows that are debuting,’” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Listen guys, the reason I have a show on E! is because of people like Dina Lohan and Denise Richards!’ So you can’t forbid me from talking about them – that’s retarded.”  Source of Quote

2.         Paris Hilton is an heiress and has 1.5 million followers on Twitter. She starred in several seasons of “The Simple Life”.  The first season of The Simple Life premiered to 13 million viewers (source).

  • On rumors that she is adopting children – “That’s retarded. No I’m not,” reports PEOPLE. Source
  • Hilton: I think I am a good role model, and a lot of mothers come up to me and they’re really happy, and I think if any girl follows their dreams then anything can happen to them. Source

3.         Guy Ritchie referring to Madonna,

4.         Kristen Stewart

  • “I just didn’t pay attention,” Stewart recalls. “I was like, ‘You guys are celebrating something that has not come true yet. So, you are really retarded and have nothing to do with this creative process and I really don’t want to hear you celebrate in front of me. Get out of here! It’s my responsibility!’” Source of Quote
  • Stewart is even more emphatic: “It’s so retarded,” she says. “We’re characters in this comic book.” Source Quote

5.         Lindsay Lohan

  • The hot young star has been upsetting some advocates for the mentally disabled by using the word “retarded” as an insult.
  • When asked about rumors she’d had breast implants, for example, Lindsay replied, “That’s retarded.” And, referring to reports that she was feuding with Hilary Duff, Linsay said, “It’s retarded.” Source

7.         Perez Hilton – Ranked #2 by Forbes on the list of the most influential people on the web.

  • “For the third year running controversial gossip blogger Perez Hilton (real name: Mario Lavandeira) reigns supreme over the world of Web celebrity. He runs what he calls “Hollywood’s most hated Web site,” an off-color blend of rumor, opinion and immature humor. The site attracts more than 7.2 million people a month, putting it among the 500 most-visited sites on the Internet, and Hilton has more than 1.77 million Twitter followers. Hilton’s online fame often spills into the offline world…” Source
  • Listen to his retarded rant. (above) Article titled “Danny Glover is a Moron”  Source
  • Emotionally stunted? That’s a nice way of saying retarded! — Article: Britney Spears is Retarded – Source

Most of these celebrities have a extremely large audiences.  Paris Hilton, Kristen Stewart and Perez Hilton have younger, impressionable fans reading and listening to what they say.  These young fans will pick up and repeat what they have read and heard.  I think that these celebrities should use more caution when being interviewed, writing on their blogs, or when hosting their television shows.

Entry Filed under: PR Connections- PRCA 3330, Pr Writing 3330- Section A. .

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One Response to “Be My Guest Kelsey Hendrix”

  1. katiann4710 Says:

    Lauren,
    I am so glad you found this post on Kelsey’s blog and posted it yourself. I found it very interesting to read. I love the campaign, “Spread the Word to End the Word.” I fully support this, and agree that the word is politically incorrect, and used in wrong contexts all the time. I have to admit that I do watch a few of the celebrities mentioned above in the article, and just because they have said the word has not made me turn my back to watching their talk show. For example, I enjoy watching Chelsea Handler. She makes me laugh, but i do not approve of her language at times. The use of the word “retard,” should be taken more seriously than it is by individuals. I have worked with special olympics in my past, and it hurts me very much to see people throw around a word so hurtful without thinking twice about it. Thanks for posting such an interesting campaign topic.
    -Kati Ann

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