Update – Katie Hopkins causes outrage within autism community with offensive tweets

Katie Hopkins on 'This Morning'

Katie Hopkins on ‘This Morning’

Katie Hopkins – On May 4 we covered the story, Denise Welch and Lucy Hawkins – Celebrities to Slam Katie Hopkins for Mocking Autism on how celebrities had vented their anger and frustrations over the tweets made by Katie Hopkins directed towards Ed Miliband.  

After reading these offensive tweets, which aimed to mock individuals with autism, I was provoked into writing an opinion piece on Huntington Post UK. I really was in two minds whether to voice my opinions or not, as did I really want to feed the troll?  Many people voiced that she should be ignored, that she should not be given any more attention as that is what she craves. But why should we remain silent when she mocks those with disabilities? No, enough is enough I thought, and so I wrote my feelings down.

As well as angering celebrities in our report, such as Denise Welch and Lucy Hawkins, who I praise for speaking out, she has also angered many individuals and groups within the autism community.

Kevin Healey, Leading Autism Campaigner UK  Leading autism campaigner and friend of Autism Daily Newscast, Kevin Healey, launched a Change.org petition, make a public apology to the Autism community and to date it has had over 4,200 signatures since its launch only a few days ago. A Thunderclap campaign has also been launched,  Katie Hopkins Say Sorry ! that will go live on May 16 at 12:00PM EDT.

Kevin told us:

“Spoke with BBC last week and she wouldn’t come on air. Her statement was ‘it was just in jest.’ I’ve been inundated with angry parents and people on the spectrum, my petition has generated over 4300 names already. She just needs to say sorry”

Kevin also made his own video message, directed at Katie Hopkins, that can be viewed below.

The hashtag #katiehopkinssaysorry2autism is now being used on twitter. Recent comments include:

KH

KH1KH3

Denise Welch recently tweeted:

DW

Then in response to Ms Hopkin’s tweet:

“ENOUGH with the ads for #strangeronthebridge Starting to wish the sympathetic stranger had let him jump.”

About the Channel 4 documentary The Stranger On The Bridge that tells the story of Jonny Benjamin, a man who was saved in 2008 from jumping off London’s Waterloo bridge by a stranger.

Denise tweeted:

denSo now she is attacking people with mental health issues. The Sun newspaper as Denise Welch states, must be very proud of their columnist.

Below is my opinion piece taken from the Huffington Post website.


Ms Hopkins… Please Stop!

I have been mulling over whether to write about the tweets by Katie Hopkins, posted on Twitter, aimed towards Ed Miliband. For those who haven’t seen them, get read as follows:

“ED STOP LOOKING AT US. You are weird. Look at people, not a machine. Try and act off the spectrum. #leadersdebate.”

She also tweeted:

“Have just seen that lovely Ed Miliband on my TV. For one so clearly on the spectrum – he really is a high achiever. Well done Ed. Go you.”

Now after reading the last tweet, I swallowed down my loathing and anger, towards this so called ‘columnist,’ and instead responded to a tweet by actress Denise Welch, who has a son with Asperger’s syndrome. She tweeted:

“@RealDeniseWelch: Wow! We’ve had mental illness, dementia, weight issues and today… autism!!! Go @KTHopkins you vile bully. http://t.co/ECWrNFm1TZ”

I thanked Ms Welch for standing up to Ms Hopkins, and tweeted that the columnist should use her social platform to educate instead of to ridicule.

Does she think that because of her supposed power and elevated celebrity status within society, that she can mock those individuals with a disability and get away with it? Every action has consequences and so I respectfully ask her to stop, just stop.

What Ms Hopkins lacks is respect and empathy. What she fails to recognise is that her words, read by millions of people, have an impact upon society, upon those individuals who have autism, and upon those individuals who care for someone on the autistic spectrum. Her words hurt, her words hurt me. I am a mother to a young child on the spectrum. Does she imply that he is weird? That he cannot achieve? As Anna Kennedy OBE tweeted; is Ms Hopkins now a consultant paediatrician?

“@AnnaKennedy1: http://t.co/8GP4HeoaXZ Miss Hopkins must be a Consultant Paedeatrician or Psychiatrist now able 2 make diagnosis of individuals with #autism”

I do not have the likes of Ms Hopkins social presence and media privilege in which to air my views, but as a mother of a child with autism, what I do have is a voice and the right, as does anyone else, to say how her views impact upon those with a disability. Her words impact upon me, my family and wider society.

Life is already difficult for people with any disability. We do not need, nor welcome her outspoken views, and sarcastic comments, that ultimately make life harder by adding ignorance and prejudice into the mix. We are incredibly fortunate in this country to have freedom of speech, but she evidently abuses this privilege.

Her spiteful and thoughtless words unravel all the good work that is done by advocacy groups, parents of autistic children and those individuals who are striving for awareness and autism acceptance. She undoes all of this in 140 characters. Shame on you Ms Hopkins.

You have a public platform. You could do so much good, yet you use your public status to ridicule. My son may have autism but he is kind, empathetic and compassionate. Qualities that you seem to lack.

2 Comments

  1. Georgina wakefield May 6, 2015
  2. melissa May 7, 2015