"You're allowed to be humiliating, degrading and hurtful. I'm allowed to petition you to at least recognize what you say and be aware of the option you have to stop." Tim Shriver

Monday, February 20, 2012

"The Grey" - Another Movie Using the R-Word

Frustrated with the use of the R-word in our society?  Trying to figure out what you can do?  Have you taken the pledge?  If not, please consider visiting the website for Spread the Word to End the Word and taking the pledge.   Also- please consider "liking" them on Facebook.   This organization does incredible work trying to educate and inform the greater public on why the R-word is so damaging, hurtful and derogatory and we are incredibly grateful for their presence as well as their support of The R-Word Reporter.  


Since our last post, there have been wonderful emails and comments listing other movies, actors, shows and even songs using the R-Word.  I cannot express how excited I am that there is support for this type of information to be distributed and shared.  Ironically, I hope for a day when this blog is no longer needed.  For a day when society and pop culture realize that the R-word is just as hurtful as the N-word.  That the R-word is used only to demean, degrade and even to bully.  


Until then, we keep reporting and educating.


The latest movie to use the R-word is Liam Neeson's (who we actually love to watch on screen) new film, "The Grey".  It is a movie set in Alaska in which an oil drilling team struggle to survive after their plane crashes and they are hunted by a pack of wolves. 


It was our Valentine's date.  I had already seen "The Vow" during a girls' night out and so we agreed on "The Grey".  We briefly considered "This Means War" starring Reese Witherspoon, but after hearing that Chelsea Handler is also in "This Means War" I didn't want to even risk hearing her toxic language and excessive use of the R-Word.  






A movie about men stranded in the wilds of Alaska while fighting off a pack of wolves definitely is not what you might first think of for a Valentine's choice, but we went for it anyway.


Well...we lasted about 15 minutes into the movie.  During the scene, the group of men are on the plane discussing flights that have crashed.  One of the men says something to the effect of, ". . . their spines went up through their heads because they were all bent over like f*cking retards."  


I looked at my husband.  He looked at me.  I offered to leave by myself and watch another movie and meet him afterwards.  He said, "No way."


We both left together and watched the last hour of "The Vow" together.


It was such a pointless line.  Disgusting.  Unnecessary.  I really have to figure this thing out.  I really enjoy Liam Neeson.  I usually really enjoy his movies.  I really enjoy Denzel Washington and I really enjoy his movies, but "Safe House" was crossed off our list because it also stars Ryan Reynolds and I really cannot stomach him after seeing "The Change Up."  


I hope that sharing this information and providing people with choices will at least help. 

Thank you for sending in any movies, shows, songs or other uses of the R-word.  I am working on making our list.  Our list of empowerment and education. 





47 comments:

  1. Also, in the children's movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is shown on family channels like ABC family has a scene where the character Mike T.V. makes a remark that says "A retard could figure it out" and they showed it on abc family!!!! i was outraged!!! Thats a movie for children! Everytime they show it on the channel i listen to see if they have changed it, but no. i don't understand how no one has said anything about this being shown on ABC family.

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    1. Wow!!!
      I will add that to the list and email ABC Family as well. Thank you so much for your comment and insight.
      Jen

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    2. This is in the new Charlie starring Johnny Depp. It of course is banned in our house. But the ole one is better. Watch it.

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    3. Silly. What is silly is that the culture we are currently in thinks the R word is just a word and that somehow an artist can use it as they wish. What is silly is that our culture has learned nothing from our artisitic past and is choosing to repeat it. In the 1930's and 40's it was considered art to mock black people on the big screen. Artist thought nothing about the portrayal of African American as shiftless, ne'er do wells and thought nothing of abusing them in name and character. Thankfully, our culture has shifted and through the education and steadfast work of many un named heroes, it is no longer considered art to portray or abuse African Americans in this way.
      There are many choices an actor can make, a writer can make and an audience can make artistically. I dare say the character in this film would have been seen in the same light if he would have chosen another word here. Ultimately the culture we live is a cycle, culture affects art, art affects culture. We are just doing our part to affect it. Silly? I don't think so. Naive to think we can affect it without a fight? yep. But I will make my silly effort non the less.

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    4. I wonder if it changes by where you live. When Disney showed the film the R word was removed. They are extremely respectful of people with differences. I bet if you write to both ABC and Disney and your local affiliate they won't do it again.

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    5. Rachel-- I feel naive sometimes also. Not to mention silly for getting so fired up over a word, but when I read about other families and individuals who feel the same way I know what we are striving for is justified. Thanks for your comments!!

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    6. This is the Tim Burton movie with Johnny Depp rather than the 70s Film with Gene Wilder.
      I have a six year old boy, with Downs and we recently sat down with our four children to watch it on DVD, we switched off as soon as the word was used. It's a shame so many movies, tv shows, songs, comiedians, etc feel the need to use such a horrible word.
      This blog is a great idea, is it okay to report the use of the word in the UK, or is it just for the US?

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    7. Hi! Please send use of the word anywhere! We want to make our list as inclusive as possible. Thanks for your comment!

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    8. I bet if you write to Disney they will make the change. They have been very good in the past about listening to the needs of the special needs community.

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    9. It's not enough to complain here. Everyone needs to write a polite letter explaining our position. I did that to Adam McKay asking him not to use the R word in Anchorman 2 and he tweeted back that he agreed that the R word is over. We can't complain to each other. Nothing will happen that way. Everyone needs to get on Twitter and reach out to the offenders. I don't know if they use the word with malice (like Sarah Silverman or Daniel Tosh or Larry the Cable guy) but if we don't reach out and explain then how can we expect change? Sorry to post Anonymous but I don't have any of the other accounts!
      Hannah Jacobs
      Family Member

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  2. I will have to ask to all movie producers writers etc. would you use the N-word in your script would a producer allowed it? would the big wigs of the studios give the green light??? you say no,, is not acceptable?! how dare I ask??!! THEN WHAT MAKES YOU ALL THINK IS OK TO USE THE R-WORD!!! ignorance is not always bliss!!

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    1. Thank you for your comment and thoughts.

      Jen

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  3. Thanks for this. I never go to the movies anymore for fear of hearing the dreaded R word. Knowing which films have and which are safe is a huge help. Maybe Matt and I will get to have a movie date someday!

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    1. Send the boys to us!!!!:) we would live to hang with them for a night!!:) thank you do much for your comment.

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    2. Hate the "R" word, I have a sister who for years was given that awful title. Just watched the movie "The son of no one" another movie where the word is used too much!! And, the movie even though it has good actors was pretty bad!!

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  4. Films like "The Grey" are devoted to realism. People in real life use the r-word whether they should or not.

    Boycotting a film because it portrays an unsavoury aspect of life is not only silly, but offensive to all artists who struggle to portray the world as they see it.

    Imagine if the works of Homer or Shakespeare had been completely destroyed because people objected to their characters' language, violence, and libido.

    I find the r-word morally repugnant. But equally repugnant is the suppression of art simply for portraying life as it is.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts.
      Jen

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    2. Also- Jesse- we are not saying to boycott such films. The purpose is merely to let people know so that they can make an informed decision on how to spend their time and money. I hope this clarifies. Thank you.

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    3. Interesting interpretation of the word "art". More like "crap".

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  5. I look forward to seeing your list. As an elementary school teacher, I spend lots of time with my students discussing how our differences make us all beautiful; that we must respect one another, support one another, and celebrate one another. I refuse to tolerate any kind of bullying or discrimination in my school, and I will not tolerate it from my community, country, or world.

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    1. Thank you for educating our youth and for promoting kindness, dignity and respect. There is nothing in the world like a great teacher- thank you!!

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  6. Just 2 thoughts
    1) how much is context of the words use valued by you? While the use of such language definitely has an argument behind it being "unnecessary", it does serve ultimately to vilify characters and illustrate them as cruel figures. In addition, I don't think completely striking the r-word from the lexicon of language in popular culture would serve a positive means. Bad, insulting language can be used in cinema to hold a mirror against society to show the flaws. While not used in "the grey", I firmly believe
    That inflammatory language can be used in film without promoting such words, but rather context can condone the colloquialisms. But that's just my thoughts, everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

    2) with your comments made about neeson and Reynolds, I do have to say I see a bit of shooting the messenger, as it isn't the actors who put the words in the script, it's the screenwriter. If you are going to blame anybody, I implore you to take the effort to see who put the words there, and you'll find it wasn't Liam neeson.

    Once again, this is just my opinion, I hope you consider this view, as I have learned from reading your own.

    Many thanks.

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    1. Unfortunately the excessive use of the r-word in film and society promotes the myth that it is ok. I agree that everyone has the right to use such words, but I also believe in my right to propose that they don't. Much like nude scenes, actors do have a say in what words they will or won't use. Obviously they have the "right" to say such words and as long as they do, I will continue to let others who are offended by such language know it is there so they may choose to avoid it if they so desire.

      Thank you for your thoughts and comment.

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  7. Not that people are running to their tv sets to watch Redneck Vacation on CMT, but as my wife and I sat down the other night to watch the dvr'd program, we got about 5 minutes into the episode when one of the "real-life" characters dropped the r-word. We have removed it from the recording que, and won't be watching again.

    In response to Anonymous, I would just say I am 33 years old, and have said many things in my life that I regret saying. Sometimes I would regret it as it was coming out of my mouth, other times I was just not aware that I was hurting anyone and felt terrible later when it was pointed out to me. Now as a parent of 3 beautiful children, one who happened to be born with T21, hearing the r-word cuts through my being like I have just been tazed. This stunned feeling is then followed by rage, which I would assume is a protection response like a lion to its cub. I am not uber PC or any crazed polictical fanatic on either side, I am just aware now that these words (whether used with malice or just as an emphatic descriptor, not having anything to do with a disability) hurt those who have the disability and their loved ones, who are only trying to protect their own from unnecessary ridicule.

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    1. Jeff-- thank you so much for your comment and for the information on Redneck Vacation. The word does take on even more meaning when you have a disability or know someone with one-- right? Thank you again so much.

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  8. I am opposed to people using the "r-word" in every day conversation. I find it repugnant when I hear a celebrity say it in an interview or if they are caught saying it off the cuff. However, the use of it in a movie is fine as long as it is spoken by a character that is generally considered "bad" or otherwise annoying etc. I saw The Grey and I did take notice of this scene, but I also took notice that Liam Neeson's character seemed annoyed with him. Therefore, it showed that people that use the word are rude. If anything, it helps our cause. This word, like so many others, only has power if you let it have power. You missed a great movie about people setting their differences to the side & coming together to try and survive. You did yourselves a disservice by leaving. Furthermore, you are showing no tolerance and yet asking people to be respectful...it is a bit of a contradiction. Blogs like these border on being overzealous and actually are going to make people that are on the fence decide that this cause is going too far & turn them off to doing what is right. Pick your battles more wisely. If Liam Neeson gives an interview about the film and says the r word then blog about it and boycott his movies, but giving him hell for just being in a movie with the word is too much.

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    1. Hi Ezra-- thanks for your comment. I have to disagree, though. This site is not meant to show zero tolerance or be over zealous. Instead, it is meant to be informative and be a place to provide information, education and therefor options to people who prefer not to have to hear the R-word. There are other means of showing a character has flaws or is a bad person. I did not encourage anyone to boycott Liam's movie or anyone else's movie. We are merely providing information and opportunity for others to realize that the R-word is hurtful to certain members of society. Thanks again for your thoughts, though.

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    2. I love this site as it gives a chance to educate so many. I love to talk about the power of the R word. I also would love to take responsibility for giving it power because that also might mean I could get that power back. But unfortunately none of us can do that so easily. We did however come together recently when the power of that word was used to deny a child an organ she needed to live. Yep, we all got together and said NO! You can not use the power of that word to say this child has less value than another. So if some think we are over zealous then I say we have every right to be. This unfortunately is the power of that word.
      And, if a movie takes you away from the movie, from the character, then the movie did a bad job. Editors spend hours combing footage for any inconsistency that might make us the viewer "leave" the film. When this word is said, overzealous or not I "leave" the film. I hear nothing but that word for the rest of the film. So many of us are just trying to say we do want the power of that word back. We do want you to be respectful Mr. Producer and let us enjoy your film too.

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  9. Mentally Retarded is the official clinical name for the disorder.

    If you can't handle that, you might as well jump off a bridge, because the medical association has no such qualms about calling it what it is, mostly because they're not a bunch of fragile, hand-holding helicopter parents.

    There are people starving to death in the streets of our own country, and you're worried about a dubiously offensive term? Get real. Grow up. Welcome to life.

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    1. People like you are the problem.

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    2. Dear Anonymous,
      We don't need to get real as we already are very very real. Nor do we need to grow up - we are very grown up. And above all else, we already do welcome life and have no intention of jumping off a bridge no matter how difficult life gets. Some studies suggest that the mental stress of parenting a child with a disability is comparable to the mental stress of combat. That doesn't sound like fragility to me. That sounds incredibly tough.You are right though, we do tend to reach out our hands to hold onto each other.But, I am thinking that perhaps you meant "hand-wringing" instead? Well, we don't have time to sit around and wring our hands do we? If you knew anything about parenting a child with a disability you would know that much of what we do is work towards the day our children can live independently in a community that welcomes and supports them. We don't want to hover over them forever, as your helicopter parent term suggests. We are working together to make life(as in the world) a better (some would say a more welcoming!) place for our children to grow up in, free of discrimination, prejudice and hatred that is well-documented throughout history towards people with intellectual disabilities. While that sounds like a tall order, I would also like to say that we are also quite prepared take on people like you who would belittle and ridicule our efforts. And just so you know, there is nothing dubious about the offensiveness of the word retard. It IS offensive. So, Anonymous, what are YOU doing to make the world a better place?

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    3. Tess-- thank you so very much for your passionate and insightful response!!! You ROCK!!!! I was just working on my "thick skin" and trying to brush off the negative comments and all of the positive posts have been so incredible. Hugs and thanks for how well you advocate for respect!

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    4. Exactly the problem, the word started being used to describe people who were viewed as less than human, & treated much worse than animals. When someone uses any word fitting a group of people, let alone one that fits that discription, it's not ok, especially to describe something stupid, annoying, or anything else that's negative! The medical diagnosis is just that, medical, not to be thrown around. I heard someone say it, while in line, to call their childs behavior stupid. I told them that it's derogatory, & not even addressing it's use as abusive. The husband quoted the dictionaries definition, which was medical. The woman who said it felt bad, & seemed to take my forearm crutches to mean I have that diagnosis. It shouldn't matter who has it that can hear, knowing it's offensive to many should be enough.
      I call it lazy writing, when people use any slurs or jokes that attack a group, when there's so many possibilities that don't! It's sad that I've always known, & know many of us have spread the word for 20 years, & it's still needed. Thank you! It was also on ABC Family Pretty Little liar a few weeks ago, & too many times to count on an episode of green acres that still runs on occasion.

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  10. Anonymous- "You're allowed to be humiliating, degrading and hurtful. I'm allowed to petition you to at least recognize what you say and be aware of the option you have to stop."

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  11. I'm noticing a theme with the comments that have a strong dislike for the blog.

    1. Ignorance, this is a service I actually thought of starting with our D.A.D.S. (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome) group in order to just shield people from going out to the movies, which anyone with kids knows is a feat in itself, spending our hard earned money on a movie and then having the word dropped in your lap like a hot steamy turd. It just ruins the entire mood of the night even if it was clearly a throw away line. No one is saying to boycott movies, actors, studios...just a hey heads up, this useless word might ruin your evening.

    2. Misplaced Anger, How do people find a blog like this unless they are tied into groups that support families dealing with these issues? Take "Anonymous" for example, his first statement, is incorrect. Last I checked most informed communities are abolishing this very title for their Intellectual Disability programs. And why is Anonymous reading this blog? What does it have to do with his life? Other than to uphold his duty as the Super Avenger of Tough Guy America! I don't believe any of the commenters reading your blog said, hey stop doing things for the hungry and homeless in America so we can fight these people for using a word we find offensive?

    3. I would love to see statistics of your followers and their comments on who are parents, or have children with special needs. Something tells me Anonymous who was really brave in making his comments under the name I'm sure is on his birth certificate is neither a parent nor relative of anyone who would be sensitive to this topic.

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    1. Jeff-- I could not agree with you more. Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what some of these posts have been making me feel. I'm trying to stay positive and get a thick skin so I can just keep advocating and spreading awareness. Thank you so very much for the advocating you do and for your awesome, insightful and intelligent comments!!!

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  12. thanks fpor the info about who saying the r word in movie and other things to,maria

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  13. I am so glad someone is keeping track of these things! I don't know if anyone reported this one to you, but here it goes: I enjoy reading, especially non fiction. Picked up the book "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell a couple weeks ago, because I heard the movie was good and Julia Child was a childhood icon. Immediately got turned off by the author's vulgar language and flip attitude about life, but persisted reading it - how could three or four pages of glowing reviews from all the best critics at the beginning of her book be wrong? Got to the page where she makes fun of a very sad situation in a subway as she basically belittles a woman's mental health melt down in a subway. Ok, should I still read more? Doubting myself I keep going until I hit the chapter where she finds it good that her friend calls Jimmy Fallon a "f*****g R-word". I was shocked and immediately put the book down. No wonder it is said that Julia Child didn't like Julie Powell. I agree completely. She probably made a ton of money on her insulting book, movie, guest appearances, etc. When will people learn that making fun of the most vulnerable of us is just wrong?

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    1. Thank you for sharing Amy! Now I'm going to have to re-read that book. I can't believe I didn't pick up on it the first time. Will add to the list! Thanks again!

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  14. I am all for free speech, but it ends when you mock a defenseless human being. The "R" word does just that, despite the defenses people throw at you for it's use. A word of advice to you people that use it, educate yourselves, then step back & think how you would feel being on the receiving end. Then find a cause & start helping & supporting people that are of different needs than yours. It feels really good!

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  15. Here is a link to the Facebook page of the writer of The Grey. Maybe we can all let him know that his word ruined the film for many people. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Carnahan/106577382717717?sk=wall

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    1. here where can write to the cast
      Hey Twitter addicts - make sure to follow these talented folks from The Grey:

      CAST
      Dermot Mulroney - http://www.twitter.com/DMulroney
      Frank Grillo - http://www.twitter.com/FrankGrillo
      Joe Anderson - http://www.twitter.com/_JoeAnderson

      Director Joe Carnahan - http://www.twitter.com/carnojoe

      Producer Jules Daly - http://www.twitter.com/tankdalyDermot Mulroney

      Thanks rachel for the facebook info where can write to that joe. maria

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  16. Hi Jennifer, I am wondering if you would do us the honor of becoming an official Stop Disability Slurs advocate? That would mean you would have authority to post on our page and moderate the news stream, etc. etc. You just have to remember to sign your posts as JT, SDS Advocate (or whatever initials you'd like to use). Send me a message on Facebook if you are interested! - Gretchen Mather

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  17. I totally support this cause, but what about the words "dumb" and "lame"? "Dumb" is defined as "lacking the power of speech" which many kids with people with disabilities do. The definition has broadened to mean unintelligent but that is only because of the derogatory use of the word. And the definition of lame is "crippled or physically disabled, especially in the foot or leg so as to limp or walk with difficulty." Why do these words get ignored?

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  18. Just watched The Rebound and the two kids are arguing... one says, "You are retarded." And the other says "No, you are retarded."

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  19. Hello all,

    I, too, do not like the "R" word, and I have tried to teach my children the importance of respecting the different personalities and capabilities that all people bring to relationships. I do not have a personal relationship with anyone that falls within this disability, but I do have many friends who have other disabilities.

    The point of my post is this: I wanted to say "Thanks!" to those of you who took the time to describe the pain that occurs when society categorizes your loved ones as "different." I have bookmarked this page and am going to share your thoughts with my children.

    Information is good. You've helped one family already...

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  20. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is on Channel 9 TV right now during family viewing hours. Mike TV's r***** dialogue piece was included unofortunately. This is very disapppointing and upsetting! There is no point campaigning anymore I think. There is no respect and this seems impossible to change.

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