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Family Sues Over 'Offensive' Images of Autistic Son

tennessee defamatory descriptions retarded news down syndrome

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#1 Hum

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 13:25

A Nashville family is suing Cox Media and other defendants after they posted altered images of their son with Down syndrome with descriptions that read "Retarded News" and other "offensive" mischaracterizations.

Pamela and Bernard Holland are parents of Adam, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. The suit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, claims the the Hollands were shocked to learn that an image of Adam taken in July 2004, when he was 17, was used for commercial use with "defamatory" descriptions, the Hollands' lawsuit states.

Pamela Holland declined to comment to ABC News on the suit.

In the original photo, Adam is holding a sketch he created while attending an art class at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Nashville. But a radio station in Tampa, Fla., that is owned by Cox Media Group, WHTP-FM, used the image on its website in which Adam holds a sign that reads "Retarded News."

The lawsuit does not describe how the radio station obtained the image.

Last summer, the group "Spread the Word to End the Word," which campaigns to end the use of the word "retard" to describe people with mental disabilities, contacted the radio station about the photo.

The program director of the radio station wrote an e-mail to the campaign, apologizing for the use of the photo by "The Cowhead Show."

"The segment 'Retarded News' is designed to highlight odd stories that are seemingly always in the news," according to the email that was included in the court papers.

"These stories are NOT about disabled individuals. However, in our investigation, we noted the picture that he was using did denote a person with Down syndrome," the program director wrote.

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#2 arachnoid

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 14:05

"The segment 'Retarded News' is designed to highlight odd stories that are seemingly always in the news," according to the email that was included in the court papers.

"These stories are NOT about disabled individuals. However, in our investigation, we noted the picture that he was using did denote a person with Down syndrome," the program director wrote.


I call him out on that one as to me it clearly infers the same meaning......purely ludicrous excuse

#3 spikey_richie

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 14:08

That's just retarded!

#4 XerXis

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 14:09

valid grounds for a law suit imho

#5 +Chris123NT

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 14:15

I'm confused, title says the kid is autistic, yet the article says down syndrome. These are two TOTALLY different conditions.

If the excuse is true, then whoever wrote this article for abc/yahoo should be in retarded news for not knowing the difference between autism and downs.

#6 siah1214

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 14:25

There is so much wrong with this on so many levels. What is wrong with people?

If the excuse is true, then whoever wrote this article for abc/yahoo should be in retarded news for not knowing the difference between autism and downs.

How the hell did this make it past an editor with that bad of a mistake in the title?

#7 Torolol

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 15:27

There is so much wrong with this on so many levels. What is wrong with people?

How the hell did this make it past an editor with that bad of a mistake in the title?

after being protested the abc & yahoo quickly modify the title.

#8 +warwagon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 15:32

Is it just me or can I see that photo being turned into a meme with a different person changing what that paper he is holding up says.

#9 +Nik L

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 15:52

Is it just me or can I see that photo being turned into a meme with a different person changing what that paper he is holding up says.


My feelings? Yes, it's terribly tasteless, but also terribly naive of the parents to not assume this would happen. It takes 2 existing meme's ("Count to potato" and "insert text onto holding sign"). 4chaneriffic :(

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#10 +warwagon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 16:00

My feelings? Yes, it's terribly tasteless, but also terribly naive of the parents to not assume this would happen. It takes 2 existing meme's ("Count to potato" and "insert text onto holding sign"). 4chaneriffic :(


HA! That was great.

On another note, because they sued and made this a big deal, isn't his being seen more than if they hadn't sued?

#11 M_Lyons10

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 16:08

Wow. That is really disgusting. I just can't believe someone would even think something like this is acceptable.

#12 OP Hum

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 16:16

:huh:

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#13 +Nik L

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 16:30

I just can't believe someone would even think something like this is acceptable.

Then you are as naive as the parents.

Please, don't take me as cold or out of context. I'm not saying what they did was right. I am saying "I can fully believe this happened and wouldn't have posted the photo in the first place, I've been to 4chan and I know how low the Internet can stoop"

#14 Growled

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:25

Yeah, the world is a retarded place where you will find people that think this is okay or will try to justify it.They should be ashamed of themselves but they are probably too retarded to care.

#15 myxomatosis

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:45

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