Before the premier of the movie Ted (as the result of a childhood wish, John Bennett’s teddy bear, Ted, came to life) had the ALS community upset because of this, “From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig’s disease,” says Mark Wahlberg’s “John.” The protests made national news, ABC News, “I didn’t expect to go to a movie and sit with an audience laughing at the expense of people with ALS,” said Randy Pipkin, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2005. “I think the message this film sends out is a huge slap in the face to people dying from this horrific disease.”
A friend of mine added, “This line from Ted is something that never should have been said much less survived the editing process for a major movie release especially as a punch line for a comedy,” Jeff Lester, an ALS patient from Lebanon, Mo., wrote in an open letter to Wahlberg and “Ted” writer Seth MacFarlane posted on Facebook.
I saw the movie and I have lived with the disease 28 years. I hope the protest was halfhearted to keep ALS in the news. The punchline was dead solid perfect if someone deeply hates another and wishes the worst thing on earth to be inflicted upon them. ALS is considered an orphan disease, which simply means not enough people die from the disease annually to attract significant research funding to discover a cure, because the patient population cannot create enough profit to justify the investment. Now, that’s a kick in the teeth!
I am thrilled any time the horrors of ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease can be brought to the attention of the general public, but not at the cruel expense of someone personally. Monday on Atlanta sports radio 790 AM The zone three ignorant DJ’s cruelly mocked former New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason with knock knock jokes and using a computer generated voice as Gleason, because Steve now depends on an augmentative communication device to communicate. AUDIO mocking Steve Gleason
Sadly, The Zone management did nothing until a sports blogger brought the appropriate attention to the vicious attack. The DJ’s were slapped on the wrist with a suspension before lunch on Monday, but not until management realized the story was not going away did they do what should have been done immediately and terminate the employees.
The Zone management released a CYA statement late Monday afternoon:
We deeply regret the offensive programming that aired this morning on “Mayhem In The AM” on 790 The Zone, related to former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS. We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment. 790 The Zone, our owners, sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support this kind of content. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Gleason, his family and all those touched by ALS.
The Atlanta Falcons have a relationship with the radio station and issued a similar statement with hopes the story will quickly drop from the headlines. What has been accomplished? Absolutely nothing! Some radio station will pick up the hosts Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Diminop regarding them as up and coming Howard Sterns or Don Imuses making flagrant remarks for shock value then apologetic if too many are offended. The Zone management and Falcons owner Arthur Blank might throw a little money towards ALS research trying to appease listeners and fans like another radio station did a few years ago following their genius morning drive mocked with unforgivable cruelty ALS sufferer Stephen Hawking.
If either organization was sincere about their hope this drops from the news cycle soon apologies they would make a long term commitment to creating ALS awareness and research fundraising. This will be forgotten by the weekend, hell the day was not over and The Zone management was lamenting to reporters about their woes of filling the time slot. Disgraceful!
I feel for Steve and his family. The man has reached a level of progression where it is a daily struggle to remain alive, but Steve is out generating awareness by making speeches and fundraising. The sad truth is ALS sufferers are so hope deprived when an individual with any name recognition is diagnosed an excitement buzzes through the community. That has to be the definition of desperation.
And this is all because a woman ate an apple? Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj