Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rosie O'Donnell to speak publicly about her fear of little people

Several weeks after the February 8 interview on "The Rosie Show" between Rosie O'Donnell and Chelsea Handler, an interview about little people that outraged thousands in the dwarfism community, Rosie O'Donnell announced that on the February 29 episode of "The Rosie Show" she would address the comments that were made about what she claims is a fear of little people. She will address the comments during a conversation with Chris Errera. Errera is one of the many little people who responded directly to O'Donnell and Handler after the February 8 show. Errera delivered his comments in a youtube video. Errera is a musician from the Chicago area.

It seems most people are cautiously optimistic about the February 29 show. While its hard to argue that O'Donnell is not doing the right thing by publicly responding to anger that she generated as a result of her perceived intolerance toward little people, people are very anxious about what she might say on February 29. While a public apology would be nice, many people are posting on Facebook and in other venues that, more than an apology, O'Donnell needs to initiate a dialogue that undoes some of the misinformation about dwarfism that was delivered on the February 8th episode of "The Rosie Show." Speaking of O'Donnell, my friend Monica Karpfinger wrote this on her Facebook page, "I don't expect an apology for admitting that she has a fear, but I most definitely expect an apology for the dialogue that she had with Chelsea Handler following what she admitted." Karpfinger makes a good point. The real damage to the community on February 8th was not the revelation that O'Donnell has a supposed fear of little people. That would have just been a silly joke that may have gotten a laugh or two from the audience. Though a statement like that is discouraging, O'Donnell isn't the only comedian to make such a stupid joke. As Karpfinger suggests, the real damage, and what deserves an apology, was how O'Donnell dealt with her so-called fear.

For O'Donnell's sake, for Errera's sake, and for the sake of the dwarfism community, I hope the February 29th episode of "The Rosie Show" offers a thoughtful, honest, and objective conversation on dwarfism. While such a conversation may not repair all the damage done on February 8th, it will at least show that O'Donnell wants to take a bad situation and make it right. If, after February 29, it is clear that O'Donnell has not made an honest effort to repair her wrongs, then, whether O'Donnell likes it or not, I am sure she will continue to hear from the dwarfism community. And rightly so.

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