A New Movie Makes Fun Of Kids With Special Needs. Any Of You Think That’s Funny?


Go on, raise your hands. Hmmm. Don’t see anyone out there saying YES! It’s fantastic and oh so funny when people in movies make fun of kids with special needs! We need more special-needs-slamming movies in our lives!

I’m guessing none of you had anything to do with the making of The Change-Up, a new flop of a movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. It contains a scene in which a character asks a dad whether his twins are “retarded” because they’re not yet speaking, then adds “I don’t know, this one looks a little Downsy.” It’s getting flak all over the web.

You might have heard about the campaign against the use of “retard,” Spread The Word To End The Word. It’s a demeaning, derogatory word for people with disabilities, even if it’s not used against them, per se; casual comments like “That’s so retarded!” perpetuate the idea that people with developmental disabilities are stupid. Here’s a video that makes it crystal clear why the word is awful, starring Lauren Potter from Glee:

Once, I spent a few days reaching out to people who used the word on Twitter, and got some unexpected backlash. Still, there’s a growing awareness about not using the word—except for some Hollywood movie powers-that-be, it seems. And let me just say, nobody would even THINK to caution people against using words like “Downsy” because, well, you wouldn’t think people could be so mindless, so clueless and so vile.

The official blog for the Special Olympics has simple ways you can speak out against the movie’s discriminatory language. Please, raise your voice.

The Change-Up deserves to be rated “D”—for disgusting.

Add a Comment
Back To To The Max
  1. by Aaron

    On August 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    This is absurd! I have a child with special needs and I am furious! Protest the filming and production of this abomination!

  2. [...] Seldman, the mother of a special needs child, has written a heartfelt post for Parents.com about the offensive language in The Change-Up.  It isn’t the (constant) four-letter words or graphic sexual references [...]

  3. by Jennie B

    On August 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Seems this movie is getting a lot of bad press. Will they learn their lesson? Guess we can only wait and see. Would love to be part of an email campaign asking studio for an apology.

  4. [...] Seldman, the mother of a special needs child, has written a heartfelt post for Parents.com about the offensive language in The Change-Up.  It isn’t the (constant) four-letter words or graphic sexual references she [...]

  5. by Kara

    On August 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Ahhhh. We need to start writing these people or something. Just saw a Will Ferrell flick last night making fun/using the r-word in a demeaning way and I wanted to write him a letter about it. It’s unacceptable and it does not help our children learn that it is not ok to use that word in such a negative way. I will not see this film.

  6. by marcy

    On August 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    “A little downsy”???? Whatever happened to intelligent humor?

  7. by SaucyB

    On August 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    omg, that’s terrible. There’s nothing funny about that dialogue. To say it’s in poor taste would be the understatement of the century. I don’t understand how someone could joke about something like that.

  8. [...] Seldman, the mother of a special needs child, has written a heartfelt post for Parents.com about the offensive language in The Change-Up.  It isn’t the (constant) four-letter words or graphic sexual references [...]

  9. by QueenBee32880

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

    People are waaaaaaaay too sensitive

  10. by Jennifer Henley

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

    @QueenBee32880 – Do you not have anyone close to you that has special needs?

  11. by Michelle

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

    People are rude. Get over it. We will never live in a candy coated world. If we can’t make some jokes now and then, then life is not worth living. People still make fun of others for being fat, ugly, poor, look different from them etc. We will never have a perfect world. So get used to it, prepare your children for it and we will all be just fine. Don’t take rude words like that to heart, let it just roll off your back, that way you win.

  12. by Kathleen Sanders

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I was going to see this movie – thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have a 24 year old daughter with Down syndrome and will NOT be seeing it now. Why do people find that so funny? I work for a disability rights organization in St. Paul, Minnesota and we have a short DVD called “Offense Taken” about the use of the “R” word – http://www.selfadvocacy.org.

  13. by phillip

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:17 am


    My sister… and yes wayyyyy too sensitive. This politically correct crap needs to stop.

  14. by Mommymom

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Although I understand how this is offensive, isn’t most comedy in movies. I understand that its hurtful, and I don’t fully condone the use, but I also feel that going around trying to get people to boycott a 90 minute movie over one line is a little ridiculous. Should they apologize if it has offended people, sure. But, the title of the article leads you to believe that this movie is actually a movie about children with special needs and making fun of them. And before anyone says it, I have multiple children and adults with special needs in my family, including a little cousin that I help take care of. And I also have children and step-children of my own. They went too far, don’t make the same mistake out of anger!

  15. by Jennifer B

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I have to say that for ANY parent to see this movie would be so sad. I have to ask myself what *good* parent would want to see this movie. It’s filled with sex, drugs and terrible language! 100+ F-words, 6 GD-words and lots of all the other words too.

    My husband and I always check out the pluggedin.com movie review before going to see ANY movie. It will inform you of all sexual, violent, and spiritual content as well as the language and positive/negative elements of the movie.

    Parents should know what they are buying and supporting when they go to see a movie, and if you’ve seen the trailer to the movie, you could take a really good guess. Don’t go to see a movie that you don’t support the content of; it’s that simple!

    Check out the pluggedin.com review for yourself and make your own decision.


  16. by Tracy

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I can see both sides of the fence here. Yes I can understand how it is offensive, and just disgusting, but as someone else said… people get made fun of all the time for things they can’t really help (i.e. kids who are chubby or what not). Even as an adult, I find it difficult to diet and exercise because of time constraints. Kudos to those moms that can work it into their busy schedule. I think bottom line, if you educated your children (whether or not they are special needs), they will understand they are perfect in Gods eyes, and maybe they will learn not to make fun of other people. I have a cousin who is special needs, and she is cruel to other people. Maybe other people were cruel to her in school… I do not know. But everyone* needs to be educated, and those with special needs also need to not be so sheltered and they need to stand there are going to be cruel and ugly (on the inside) people out there in the real world. That’s my number one complaint with my cousins parents… they sheltered her wayyy* too much.

  17. by Bri

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

    my daughter is hearing impaired, should I go around totally freaking when people around the world and in multiple movies say “what are you deaf?!” nope, sorry, there are a lot of syndromes and ailments that people use to compare a persons actions who is well abled as if to simply say “what’s your excuse?” If it were used to a child to hurt their feelings then shame on them, but it’s used in an adult comedy that your children will not be seeing.

  18. by Cara

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

    @ Jennifer Henley… yes, in my family I do. And we say mildly retarded. Are you f-ing kidding me? I agree that some people are just WAY TOO SENSITIVE. Get over it. If I/we choose to call someone in our family mildly retarded or mentally handicapped that is my/our family’s right. So sick of all these “righteous” people. You’re probably the same people that agree with the MORONS who want Bert and Ernie to “come out of closet” and be openly gay. SESAME STREET CHARACTERS.

  19. by inquisitive

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I also agree, it shouldn’t be quite a big deal. I am a very kind hearted person and I would NEVER condone someone making fun of a special needs child, or adult for that matter. But she has a point. You can never stop people from using words like ‘retard’ it might be considered ‘offensive’ by some of you but that doesn’t mean people are trying to use it in an offensive manner. People grow up using these words as children and now all of a sudden it’s a controversial thing? You can’t just expect them to stop. It becomes a habit. I could understand outrage if someone CALLED a special needs kid ‘retarded’ but that’s not what happened here. They made a crude joke in a CRUDE movie. that’s the point of the movie, raunchy crude jokes. The world is never gonna change, no matter how hard people try. That’s just the way it is and there is nothing you can do about it.

  20. by QueenBee32880

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

    @Jennifer Henley, my boyfriends son is autistic. We don’t let stuff like that bother us. There are way worse things going on in the world than to be worrying about who called who retareded. Get over it people

  21. by QueenBee32880

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

    And yes I will be seeing that movie, and it won’t make me a bad parent just because I did. I am an dult and if I want to watch a movie with swearing (oh no!) and sexual references then oh well! I would not let my kids see it but I can! It wont makes me a bad parent if I do!!!

  22. by NevaehsMommie

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I don’t care what anyone says, it’s still derogatory whether they think someone is sensitive or not. Special people have feelings too and nowadays there is way too much bullying in this world. Words still hurt!!!

  23. by Kate

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Or ask yourself, if a Down’s child were standing RIGHT there listening to you when you wanted to use the r-word on someone else right there who was slow to understand something… Would you? That goes for any other slur.

  24. by atalaya

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:45 am

    there is a reason its called ‘raunchy comedy’. seeing a movie like this does not condemn a person as a ‘bad’parent! it simply means they arent taking this type of humor too seriously. people get offended if someone says “thats retarded” but what about if someone says “thats so gay”?? are these to be considered curse words now? come on people, if its not your cup of tea then dont partake… but dont down other people who do!! and for the record- i havent seen the movie and probably never will… i like funny humor not stupid humor…

  25. by Halfshot

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

    As a person who has cerebral palsy and also has an amazing special needs little boy (unknown full diagnosis, still working w/ genetics team) I’ve got to say…. I really don’t think this is a big deal. The wonderful thing about this world is that we can laugh at ourselves and not take things too seriously. There is a posibility this quote is taken out of context. Maybe the person saying “retarded” is an ignorant character, and is mirroring that behavior in the real world, showing how that shouldn’t be accepted. Also, who here hasn’t had a freak out because their baby wasn’t acting like “normal” babies. Oh no, my child isn’t smiling yet, he must be autistic! Oh no, she isn’t walking yet, somethings wrong with her legs! Ah! My childs running around like a crazy person! Hyper active! ADD!
    However everyone will have their own opinions. This is all coming from a jewish woman who laughs hysterically at Hitler jokes :)

  26. by GeorgiasMama

    On August 10, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I agree with QueenBee. I feel many of you are being overly sensitive about this. And before any of you ask me if I have someone in my family, or know someone who has special needs, the answer is YES! My half-sister was the unfortunate recepient of Shaken Baby Syndrome, and on top of that, she has Fetal Alcohol Effect. I, also, know a little boy who is not even supposed to be alive, but is totally thriving by the grace of God. So, I really can see both sides to this discussion.

    We, the American public, could write letters to Hollywood movie writers and producers until we are blue in the face. It is up to THEM, not us, to make the right choice about what they put in their scripts and films. If they want to make a reference to someone who looks like they have Downs Syndrome, that is THEIR choice. If they want to put 100+ swear words in their film, that is THEIR choice.

  27. by Crystal R

    On August 10, 2011 at 10:17 am

    @Jennifer B
    Why would any parent seeing this or other movies with language/violence be sad? As long as you aren’t taking your kids to see it with you I don’t see the issue here.

  28. [...] Gets Thumbs Down for Disability Slurs” from About.com Guide to Parenting Special Needs “A New Movie Makes Fun of Kids with Special Needs. Any of You Think That’s Funny?” from To the Max at Parents.com “Take a Stand” from Something Extra Equals Extraordinary [...]

  29. by BriZ

    On August 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

    you state for us to make our own decision.. but you’ve already told us what the “correct” decision is. You’re judmental on something that you haven’t even watched. You know that whole saying when you “assume”.

    I’m not saying that you are wrong for not liking this type of humor, cool – you just don’t like it. But the whole movie isn’t about supporting the ONE LINE in there.

    I don’t like scary movies, I have a very small section of scary movies I like and handle.
    I recommend checking out “Repo! The genetic opera” for yourself, though prepare yourself. It’s much different than this ONE line issue.

    And yes everyone I have lots of issues with disablity. And if the WHOLE movie was about making fun of kids with special needs then OK I would be upset… but it’s one line.

  30. by Emily

    On August 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I do not like derogatory terms used for any person. I do not use them and I refuse to watch movies where they are used so freely. I will not be watching this one.

  31. by Jen

    On August 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

    As a parent I am responsible for every aspect of my children’s well being and am ultimatly accountable for their actions (until they are 18, haha). Understanding that they will be influenced by outside factors through their various childhood interactions (school, sports, friends, the media), I will not purposefully and willingly introduce to them anything that promotes such prejudices. I can not understand how people can be calling others outrage to this movie as “sensitive”. Comments like that is what fuels sterotypes and prejudices from continuing on. Do we not want a better society for ourselves and the future? When movies like this come out my family will not attend. If we did we would be lining the pockets of Hollywood. While Hollywood decides what to make, they react to what the public demands. It is a business. If they see profits rise they will continud to make more of the same and vica versa.

  32. by kelly

    On August 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

    well, i don’t know. how many people out there think there should be more movies making fun of asians? or black people? how bout white trash? any takers? i do not have a problem with movies that use humor that is in poor taste. if it offends you don’t watch it. it is a rated R movie so your kids should not be watching it anyway. i have not seen this film but this issue comes up often. remember tropic thunder? there is nothing about that movie that is not offensive and in poor taste and i laughed so much.
    i use the word retard and i use it as it was meant to be used and i do not think it should be removed from peoples vocabulary. i also do not use it in a derogatory sense. we should be teaching our children to respect everyone whether they have special needs or not, having said that we should also be teaching our kids that when taken out of context just about any situation can be offensive and misconstrued.
    i have written a lot and can go on and on and on but i will end with this
    i have cared for special needs kids, my own as well as others, since i was a kid myself, and they want to be treated like everyone else. we make fun of everyone so why not the developmentally disabled?

  33. by inquisitive

    On August 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    What makes you believe stopping this is going to make our world any better? What about all the drugs, alcoholism, crime, abuse, lying? You think using a word like ‘retard’ or ‘gay’ in a totally different context is what’s ruining our world? Back in the day (which is when these words first starting being used) The world was a much better place. The world might be going down-hill, but it has nothing to do with ‘slurs’ or inappropriate words. Words don’t hurt people if they don’t let it. I’ve been over weight my whole life, but does that mean I let it bother me when people make fat jokes in movies, on t.v, or even AT ME. No. What other people think has no meaning in my life. I know I’m a good person, and I know who I am. I don’t need someone else to define me. When someone says ‘gay’or ‘retard’ They aren’t making fun of someone who’s homosexual, or someone with special needs. They’re referring to something that’s stupid. And, as a matter of fact, gay first meant happy. So who the hell decided it meant homosexual? Or who decided retard meant ‘special needs’? Do you actually KNOW the definition of retard?
    to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
    to be delayed.

    Retard can be used in any form reguarding something ‘delayed’ as it says in it’s definition. So just because some idiot decided to call people ‘mentally retarded’ that’s the only way the word can be used? At my work we have a machine called a ‘retarder’ is that inappropriate? Are we wrong in having something called that? Get real people. You are the ones MAKING these words inappropriate. They didn’t have these meanings to begin with. Stop causing problems, and you won’t have problems to solve.

  34. by Kim

    On August 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

    So, having a character in a movie say a child looks a little “Downsy”, a character who we’re SUPPOSED to see as a bad person at that point, is horrible? I think that part of that movie is exemplary for not being afraid to show what some people do say and by showing it as BEING inappropriate. My brother was a special needs child as he had Asperger’s syndrome. I was in the academically gifted program which had it’s own set of name-calling. If you don’t over-react to name-calling, neither will your children and they’ll be better off for it. People will always find the thing about you that makes you upset, whether it’s a physical characteristic or a mental one. If you just accept yourself as you are, and teach your children to do the same, you won’t have a problem. So what if someone calls you “Downsy”? So what if they say you’re a midget? So what if you’re called Braceface or Turkey Neck or anything else? Make a point that the people doing the name-calling are the ones who have a problem because their self-esteem is so low they have to find fault with others to find good in themselves. There’s being PC, and then there’s being ridiculous.

  35. by rossigrl84

    On August 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    you know one that I watched was an actual kids movie that i got from the redbox in June. It’s called “luke and lucy Texas Rangers” it is a cartoon that i got after looking in their “family” genre section of the redbox. I wrote redbox asking them to pull this nasty movie from their kiosks and all I got back from them was a generic email offering me a free one night movie rental…

  36. by Tom

    On August 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I think it’s hilarious, I also think people who freak out over every little thing need to calm down, I mean really, are you going to have a heart attack over every little thing? Who cares if someone says that in a movie, on the bright side, most who could be insulted won’t even understand it.

  37. by marjorie

    On August 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I just had to sit my 8-year-old nephew down and tell him I will NOT tolerate him calling other kids retards. He also uses “gay” as an all-purpose slur. Not sure it will have an impact (he’s not my child, and since we live on opposite sides of the country we only see each other a few times a year) and in general I’m wary about criticizing other people’s kids…but my 6-year-old was starting to copy him, and it’s something I feel so strongly about. I wouldn’t PUNISH someone else’s kid, and we’re at Grandma’s so I can’t say “not in my house,” but I am fine saying THAT IS MEAN AND I DO NOT WANNA HEAR IT.

  38. by Lioness

    On August 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    All of you defenders of the right to say Anything one wants, regardless of whether it hurts people or not, I guess you think it’s okay to call people the “N” word on film, or kikes, or fags etc. Because if it’s okay to insult people who are intellectually disabled in the name of “humor”, all those other words should b acceptable too. Guess what? Thankfully, they aren’t. By the way, having a cousin or stepsister twice-removed doesn’t qualify u as someone who is a caretaker of someone with special needs unless u adopted them. When u are the mother of a child with Down syndrome, see if the word “Downsy” bothers u. And being called “deaf” isn’t associated with stupidity, so sorry woman with the hearing impaired child, it doesn’t make u an expert on whether the word retarded should offend someone whose child has Down syndrome.

  39. by T

    On August 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    First of all my nephew has down syndrome and I would NEVER call anyone with a physical or mental disability a retard, but I use the word very loosely all the time, because retard means to slow down and some people have NO common sense and are slow so they are retards. I think that a movies are just that movies some people may find humor in them and some people may not. Who cares what it’s about it’s the same thing as picking on black people (stereo typing), white people (crackers), older women dating younger men (cougars). They aren’t meant to harm anyone it’s just entertainment and if you can’t raise your children to know that there are people out there that are going to pick on them and call them names and to just brush it off then they are going to have a long hard unhappy life. Teach them that if people say that stuff and it offends them to speak up and not hang around with them cuz they arent your friends. That goes for all children not just special needs children we live in a cruel world and little kids pick and tease each other all the time. We just need to teach our children to be above it and not let it bother them same thing with “bullying” we got bullied when we were in school, but 20 years ago did you hear of people taking there life over it. Parents need to make there children stronger and teach them to “ignore” these comments etc.

  40. by krisapin

    On August 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I wonder if anyone has heard the saying “even bad publicity is good publicity”? by slamming the movie here, you are going to have even more people going to watch it just to see/hear that one scene. look at the Phelps family for Pete’s sake! what they do is bad but because people insist on talking about them, they get more publicity. If the OP hadn’t said a thing, none of us would be the wiser and I probably wouldn’t have gone to see it. But, now that my curiosity is piqued, I have to go see it just to see what the fuss is all about.

  41. by Wolf

    On August 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Anyone remember a little movie called “The Ringer”? I bet you never saw it because it seemed like it was making fun of people with special needs. That’s how the movie starts, yes, but you’ve probably never seen it so how would you know? The movie is actually about how people misunderstand special needs people. Mind you a lot of special needs people starred in this film and they loved it, they had fun with it and fun with Johnny Knoxville. The point of the movie was to show that even though they may have special needs, they’re still good, caring, smart people. Did you know Ryan Reynolds gave 10,000 dollars to Micheal J. Fox’s Parkinson’s charity? Probably not. To most people it only affects adults but it has affected teens as well. That’s a special need. Jason Bateman is a member of four charities, two of which deal with sick children. Racing for Kids and The Art of Elysium. Johnny Knoxville is a part of Varitey- The childrens charity. The point of me writing this is I’m tired of hearing about people bitch and moan that somebody did something you feel is wrong. My step brother has Cerebral Palsy. He’s a great guy and never let anyone get to him. Don’t baby your special needs kids, they’re still human, they’re still people, they still need to learn and grow like everyone else. Everyone gets picked on for something at some point in their lives and if you didn’t then you were the one picking on others. Do your research before you bitch.

  42. [...] Seldman, the mother of a special needs child, has written a heartfelt post for Parents.com about the offensive language in The Change-Up.  It isn’t the (constant) four-letter words or graphic sexual references she [...]

  43. by Jessica

    On August 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    It’s one small part in the movie. Most of you are being too sensitive. Before you say anything to me my 6 year old brother in law has a chromosomal disorder that causes him to be mentally challenged. Does his family take offense? Probably not because it’s not worth the energy to get upset over. It’s just a movie! Don’t agree with it, don’t watch it. It’s that simple. My husband and I will probably watch it because it’s only one part of the movie and it’s not a big deal. It’s only one if you make it. It’s not like the entire movie is dedicated to making fun of people with mental disabilities. Remember the movie “Shallow Hal” with Jack Black in it? That movie made fun of people who “looked different” whether it was their weight or how they looked it didn’t matter they were making fun of them. Granted the movie does have a good message about not being shallow and learning to love the person inside, it still made fun of those people and if you found that movie or other such movies that made fun of a certain group of people then you are a hypocrite. You just have to ignore comments that are offensive to you or your loved ones.

  44. by The Brave

    On August 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    It’s a movie. It’s not the actors choice of words, it’s the writers, just to start things off. But I don’t think you should be bashing the movie when there’s been countless movies “bashing” on special needs people. And the word retarded is a word… I don’t see anyone with special needs getting offended here. Just a bunch of bored internet bashers. I vote you all shut up and grow up…. it’s life.

  45. by Crystalina Ketterman

    On August 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Honestly, i disagree. If you pay CLOSE attention, you’ll notice that only people who AREN’T retarded get all pissed off at people who use that word. My older sister is retarded. She has Down’s. As in, she looks “Downsy” because she’s got the typical physical features of a kid (well, now she’s 27) with that syndrome. Go ahead, call her a retard. She’ll look right at you and tell you YOU’RE the retard. Call my brother gay. He’ll say “And?” People need to realize that the main target of most of these “insults” don’t care nearly as much as those around them think they ought to be. In my book, a “retard” is someone who doesn’t use the brain God gave them to do something, like actually make a difference somewhere in the world, not gripe and complain about name-calling, which has literally been around since the dawn of man. Wasting your brain is kind of retarded, amiright? peace, love, and grow up. don’t let your kids watch the movie. that’s all you can do.

  46. by castanedam

    On August 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    A lot of people say that you don’t let the word get to you and there are more important things to worry about. My son is autistic and we tell him to walk away all the time but when people keep pushing you one day you will snap. My son has gotten into fights because of people calling him names. It might sound easy to tell people to forget about it but when you hear what people call your child, it does hurt. If we say it is okay to talk that way in a movie then we are teaching people it is okay to call someone a retard and not think anything about it. That is the problem, everyone says let it go but when will people stand up and fight for what they believe in? If you feel it is wrong to call someone a name (any name) then say it and mean it.

  47. by Stephanie

    On August 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    In reference to that commercial: I think it’s terrible! Those people who do use such words will not be influenced by a commercial that tells them not to. I am glad I do not have cable so I do not have to worry about my young children learning these words from a foolish commercial that thinks it will have an impact on the world.

  48. by Inquisitive

    On August 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Once again people. It is WRONG to CALL someone a name, like ‘nigger’ ‘kike’ ‘retard’ or ‘gay’. BUT THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NAME CALLING. The issue is that he used the words ‘retard’ and ‘downsy’. His character didn’t walk up to a special needs child and say ‘you’re retarded’. It’s totally different to CALL someone with special needs a retard, than it is to USE the word retard. If I got mad because my phone wasn’t working, I could say ‘This phone is retarded!’ Which would be exactly correct, by the definition of the word. Just because someone DECIDED that ‘retard’ could describe special needs doesn’t mean that’s the meaning. ‘mentally retarded’ is different than just using the word ‘retard’ if any of you ACTUALLY took the time to read any of the comments here, before you start saying things. Maybe you wouldn’t look so stupid. The last time I checked, this country has something called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Saying the word ‘retard’ doesn’t hurt anyone, unless directed at someone in a hurtful manner. It’s the same as I could call someone a moron, or an idiot. Those are hurtful, why is it ok to say that? Too many of you are completely biased, and you believe that just because YOU don’t like the word, no one should be able to say it. It’s the same as if someone doesn’t like swear words, or the word GOD, doesn’t that mean you can’t say it anymore? No. I am not a christian, I don’t like people telling me that ‘jesus can save you’ and things like that. But I’m not going to go around saying people can’t tell people about their beliefs. And make a big deal about it. If that’s their religion and they’re proud of it, oh well. It doesn’t hurt me, why should I stop them? There is no difference between the word retard, and any other ‘offensive’ word. Retard is not meant to be offensive. But people are making it that way.

  49. by Looking Up

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I am sincerely amazed by the number of people who seem to feel that there is nothing wrong with referring to a baby as “retarded” or joking that he/she looks “Downsy”. Personally, I feel that supporting people who make such ignorant comments, only helps to reinforce untrue & negative stereotypes about those who happen to have special needs. As the parent of a child who is most certainly not “retarded”, but who does have Down syndrome, I will always speak out against this type of behavior. For those who feel that this makes me “overly sensitive”, or “too PC”, I invite you to “just get over it”.

  50. by Inquisitive

    On August 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Once again, you obviously haven’t been reading anything. No one said it was ok to call a baby retarded. There was a crude joke where he asked if a child was retarded. WHICH would technically be correct (mental retardation: which is the saying that makes people think retard is a ‘bad’ word) and the reply with ‘downsy’ is just a stupid word for down syndrome. Which, a child with down syndrome DOES look different. That is one huge way doctors start to believe a child HAS down syndrome. I even own a medical book that shows a child with down syndrome, and describes that ‘their eyes are typically closer together..etc’ which is a SIGN of down syndrome. especially before the child starts talking or showing any distinctive characteristics that could make them seem like they have down syndrome. If you people would stop blowing this out of proportion, maybe people would stop considering the word ‘retard’ to be linked to ‘mental retardation’. You are so dense, and it is frustrating. the word retard has NO link to down syndrome other than what people make of it. The word, ONCE AGAIN means ‘to slow, delay, hinder or impede’ etc. It’s only related to down syndrome because people like you say it is. No one says ‘mental retardation’ any more when it comes to down syndrome. So stop acting like that is what the word means. There was a crude joke in a crude movie. Get over it.

  51. by wendy love

    On August 11, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I cant believe the ‘off’ mentality of those who wrote the crap let alone produced it!!!!!!!!!

  52. by Looking Up

    On August 11, 2011 at 5:55 am

    @Inquisitive…Are you seriously trying to tell me that when Ryan Reynolds’ character asks if the babies are “retarded” because they “aren’t talking yet” & says that one of those same babies “looks Downsy”, that the writers weren’t making a jokes at people who have Down syndrome’s expense? If you are, then THAT is laughable. Perhaps you should consider writing Reynolds’ next “comedy”? I would also like to say that I am so thrilled to learn that you “own a medical book”. This obviously makes you far more knowledgeable about medical issues & Down syndrome than myself, a person who has been a nurse for more than 16 yrs & who is currently raising a child with DS. Thank you so much for your expertise!!! LMAO.

  53. by Wendy

    On August 11, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I will not see this movie now. I think that is the best way to send a message to the movie industry that they will hear loud and clear.

  54. by daisy

    On August 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I have a Special Needs child. I do find it offensive. I had not heard of the term “downsy” before reading this. Hopefully the term isn’t going to be repeated by viewers and become catchy just like the “retard” word. Before having a SN child I was not bothered by the R word, however, I know several children that are mentally handicapped and it is offensive to their families. People would not dare use the N word anymore so I think that we should also be embarrassed to use the R word. They are not different from each other. The only difference is that mentally disabled people can not stand up for themselves. Using the word Downsy is just plain making fun of people with Downs and that is why that term is offensive to me.

  55. by Mia

    On August 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I think the bottom line here is that many of us are offended by the language in this movie because we love our family members and friends with special needs so fiercely. My brother is autistic and I will never apologize for loving him enough to want to make his world a little more welcoming. If you choose to use the r word as it was meant to be used (medical term, scientific term) fine. But the moment it becomes an insult thrown at someone who can’t defend themself, then I have a problem with it. No one wants to take your freedom of speech away or your right to enjoy this movie if you choose to see it. Just think about it next time, think about who might be listening and what we teach our children about acceptance.

  56. by charlie

    On August 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, this is a great article from a magazine that interviewed Ben Stiller without confronting him on Tropic Thunder.Maybe because nobody spoke out against Something About Mary, it was easier to make Tropic Thunder. Either way, It’s about time Parents stepped up for parents with special needs. Perhaps one day we will have our own monthly spotlight or helpful advocacy tips to promote healthy growth of our society. Thanks for moving in the right direction Parents

  57. by J.A.

    On August 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t see anyone responding the post above fromt he parent of a child who is deaf. So can all of you honestly say you would have been just as offended if the character said “Why is the baby sleeping during this loud party? Is he deaf or somethin’” Are you offended when someone can’t find something right in front of them and someone else says “What are ya blind?” Do you call people on these offenses? If not, why not.

  58. by Alliel

    On August 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

    In our society, to be blind or deaf carries very little stigma. These are disabilities that most of us see as presenting a challenge, and those of us who are blind or deaf, or otherwise physically challenged, generally find acceptance and even respect for getting on with life with a disability. For our brothers and sisters who are mentally challenged, stigma and ridicule are still deeply ingrained in people’s perceptions. Social competence and independence are often so far beyond what may be expected of an individual with Down’s Syndrome or Autism that in a society where these two measure seem to be the baseline of general acceptance and tolerance, the struggle is never ending. There’s nothing funny about it, and people who indulge in that as a form of humor are themselves maturity challenged. Use of these terms in a movie are relevatory for one important insight: that those involved in making the movie – writer, producer, director, and the cast who didn’t stand up and say “I’m not saying that” are the ones who should be subject to ridicule and boycott.

  59. by ashley rowell

    On August 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for bringing this scene to our attention. Such is completely unacceptable and shouldn’t be considered humor by anyone, and yes, I would have said the same thing before becoming the mother of a handicapped child. If people had any idea the heartbreak and difficulties that accompany handicapped children and their families, they’d never dare make fun of it or make jokes about it. But, like everything else in life, none of us are immune to suddenly finding ourselves wearing the shoes of those we mock….whether it be the rich suddenly becoming poor or the healthy suffering a sudden disabling condition.

  60. by Jamie

    On August 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Well, I guess if everyone thinks it’s “no big deal” to use the “r” word, people should just get over it, and it’s not worth the time to campaign for awareness of its hurtful nature…then let’s just START a campaign to bring BACK the “n” word! Gee, that seemed like it wasn’t a big deal to say at one time (say, fifty years ago or so), but we (well, some of us) have become enlightened enough as a society to come to the realization that sometimes it’s not just the proverbial sticks and stones that cause harm.

  61. by Rose-Anne

    On August 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I cannot believe anyone would defend this in any way. I don’t have special needs children, but my mother is director of special education for a school system, and I have been lucky enough to meet many awesome kids with special needs through her over the years. This is just so sad, and I hate to think that the world can be such a hurtful place for children who already have so many challenges in life.

  62. by Shad Lueck

    On August 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Thanks, I’ve been looking for details about this subject matter for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far.

  63. by Jeremy

    On September 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Is it offensive? Absolutely. Is it humorous? This is subjective. Is it over the line? Absolutely not. People are way too sensitive nowadays. Political Correctness has run amok. Mel Brooks films were as popular as they were precisely because they were counter to PC. It isn’t the case that all movies appeal to this demographic, it is that some do, and that should be acceptable and celebrated in a free and diverse nation. Those who think that such language ought to be banned…are similar to those with oppressive and Marxist philosophies.

    Get over it. It’s a movie. Diversity should be celebrated, not shunned.

  64. by AreUtalkin2me

    On October 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I completely agree with you, Jeremy–people are WAY too sensitive these days, and I celebrate freedom of speech as well. In fact, I have the freedom to say that you’re such a dismal, small-d**ked loser that your parents are probably brother and sister who consummated their incestuous love after making a pact with the devil–and that it probably also involved dressing up like Joseph and Mary and your half-pig, half-human sister.
    Sh * it for brains.
    Well, this isn’t very productive, but that’s not the point, is it? Funny, though. (At least I find it funny–humor is so subjective, as you pointed out!)

  65. by AreUtalkin2me

    On October 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Well, how ironic! Parents.com just removed my post, probably because it was very personally insulting to the poster Jeremy (intentionally so in order to make a point). How’s that for freedom of speech and being PC, Jeremy? Parents.com, you are hypocritical!

    If there are people on here who think it’s okay to spell out the R word (or the N word) and use it repeatedly and Parents.com publishes *their* comments, I should have the right to have my comments published as well. Because the whole argument is that what we find offensive is very subjective, right? If you can call people “retard” and think it’s hilarious, then I can call you an A-hole–along with a bunch of other things that were actually pretty funny! (And by the way, it involved your parents and your sister.)

  66. by Shara

    On February 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I sincerely am a bit annoyed with this post,it’s misleading and exaggerated. One line in a 90 minute movie filled with offensive and raunchy comments is causing all this hullabaloo??
    I understand that kids get bullied and I understand that some people in this world are downright evil, but it is not the word retarded that “encourages” anyone to be a heartless jerk, it’s whatever life experiences led that individual to hate themselves so much, they have to take their self loathing out on someone they consider weaker than he or she is.
    All the parents of these children with all these mental/ developmental conditions, who are flailing and screaming through the rooftops about how vulnerable their kids are to these taboo words, is making them look and feel even weaker. I’m sorry to all of those moms who have to go through these terrible experiences where your kid is treated cruelly but if you want your kid to strive and really live, then you have to teach him/her to make the most of what you got, not expect everyone else to walk on eggshells around them.

  67. by Brooks Vacanti

    On August 20, 2012 at 1:05 am

    In fact thank you regarding starting this precise up. Fun

  68. by luciana

    On October 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Im a mother with a special needs daughter, i know theres cruel and stupid people out there but i think they should use common sense knowing they shouldnt mention stuff like that it just gets me super mad