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Holly Robinson Peete Responds to Dennis Leary on Autism

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Actress Holly Robinson Peete just released a statement in response to Denis Leary's recent jab at autism.

"Like myself and my husband, Denis Leary is a fellow supporter of the Michael J. Fox Foundation which our HollyRod Foundation has supported for years (I lost my dad to Parkinson's disease). So I'm pretty sure he is not desensitized to the seriousness of neurological disorders -- especially when it affects kids. I can only deduce that in an attempt to sell his book he tried a tactic of  "shock and rant" in hopes of being funny with the misguided excerpt from the "Autism Schmautism" (so clever!) chapter of his new book. If he was trying to be funny he failed miserably. If he was trying to sound informed, he came off as ignorant.  But if he is trying to sell a book he may have succeeded.  His subsequent statement ... "Of course, this entire misunderstanding can be easily avoided simply by doing one thing -- reading the book" serves to confirm my suspicions. In general, though, I would counsel him that autism is a very bad punch line."

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jeana October 16, 2008, 4:15 PM

Gracefully done. I really like her.

Thomas D. Taylor October 16, 2008, 9:27 PM

People interested in learning the facts about autism are welcome to listen to the free autism spectrum podcasts by Midnight in Chicago. They are located at

praying4baby#2 October 17, 2008, 2:12 AM


Robin H. Morris October 31, 2008, 5:30 PM

Kudos to Holly Robinson Peete for articulating how we feel about Mr. Leary’s foolish choice to mock autism.
My initial response was “I feel as if I am in the Twilight Zone, awaiting The Hitchhiker. Who stole our humanity? When is something simply NOT funny? Walk the walk in a family of autism’s shoes, then and only then can you talk the talk. There is a line, when crossed is dangerous territory. Certainly Mr. Leary and his posse of followers have their own personal verboten arena. Try it on for size, then find humor.”

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