Thursday, January 28, 2010

The letter the Telegraph didn't want to publish

Here is the letter, that did not get published by the Telegraph, from the British Stammering Association on Daily Telegraph columnist Miss Insensitive Liz Hunt making fun of stuttering. (Oh did I mention she was headhunted from the Daily Mail, and I have to say that shows well.)
Dear Sir/Madam

I write with regard to the Comment published in today’s Telegraph by Liz Hunt.

Ms Hunt comments on Ed Balls’ ‘tear-jerking’ interview about his life-long struggle with stammering. We here at the British Stammering Association were delighted that Mr Balls publicly commented on his struggle to speak. Stammering affects almost half a million adults in the UK. Far too often, it is hidden and silent as people do not wish to be associated with it in public, often because they see it as something shameful.

This is no doubt due to attitudes to stammering demonstrated by Ms Hunt’s “Bbbballs” outburst, something which is all too reminiscent of, and on a similar intellectual level as, much of the school yard bullying that children who stammer still experience daily. I wonder if Ms Hunt is just as keen to mock other disabilities – how about people with cerebral palsy in wheelchairs: are they, too, fair game for Ms Hunt’s pen?

We thank Ed Balls for his courage in standing up to such taunts; and for showing us that stammering is no bar to communication – just as fluent speech, or access to a keyboard, does not necessarily equate to good communication skills.

Norbert Lieckfeldt
Chief Executive
British Stammering Association


Anonymous said...

Just emailed the paper. If others wish to, the more the merrier.

Dear Telegraph,

Why is it okay for Ms Liz Hunt to mock the disabled in her column in your newspaper?

Do you consider this acceptable content?

Do you consider that people who have a disability should be barred from disclosing it or that this should prevent public office?

Is your policy that making fun at the disabled is fair game, should I look forward to articles with jokes about people in Haiti that have lost their legs hopping about?

Why have yot not published the British Stammering Association's reply?

Best regards,
David Carpe

Pam said...

I agree with the comment made on the article - how sad that people still think it is acceptable to make fun of stuttering/stammering.
It happens without fail a couple times of year, and then some one outcries it and then all is well for a while and then it happens again a few months later, and we have to begin it again.
Why is it so hard for people, famous or not, to just accept that we are all different, and that ridiculing anyone is just plain dumb. I guess this all serves as a reminder that we will always have more education to do - for the general public, for the media, and for ourselves - those who stutter and can't help it when we say "b-b-b-b-balls".