A mom from Chicago named Nancy Gianni is taking on Netflix after learning that the platform is streaming a stand-up comedy special called Disgraceful that includes the word "retarded" and a joke about Down syndrome. In his routine, comedian Tom Segura rants that you can no longer use the “R” word (retarded) and how you now have to make fun of people by saying they have “an extra 21st chromosome.”
Gianni, whose daughter GiGi has Down syndrome, is one of several in the Down syndrome community who are deeming this hate speech and requesting signatures for a Change.org petition that calls for an apology from both Segura and Netflix and removal of Disgraceful from the platform. She's the CBO (Chief Belief Officer) of GiGi's Playhouse, a nonprofit to support the Down syndrome community. Gianni started the organization after GiGi was born, and it has now grown to over 30 educational centers across the country.
In a Faceook post published on Monday, January 22, GiGi makes a personal appeal to Netflix.
"She is sad," Gianni tells Parents.com of her daughter's reaction to the comedy special. "She does not understand why this person would say mean things about her and other individuals with Down syndrome. They cannot help that they have Down syndrome. It does not make sense to her to be mean for no reason. Her beautiful brain does not think that way."
Netflix has not responded to the campaign, while Segura has taken to social media to weigh in with, “Hey @Netflix. Don’t take down my special. That’d be so retarded.”
In the meantime, the bottom-line for Gianni is that we as a community "need to teach our children kindness and that it is NOT ok to make fun of people. Ask your kids to think about your own family and what it would feel like for someone to attack and bully them. We are all just seconds away from being different or loving someone who is different. ... Differences do not discriminate and they strike in a moment. Believe me -- when that moment comes you will yearn for a world full of acceptance and kindness. A world we all deserve to live in. Open up dialogue and share that everyone deserves a place in this world and to be respected." Cheers to that.