Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage’s outrageous claims on autism have unleashed a fury of attacks from Hollywood.
“Now you want me to tell you my opinion on autism since I’m not talking about autism … a fraud, a racket,” Michael Savage said last week on his radio show, “The Savage Nation.”
The shock jock went on to say, “What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them don’t act like a moron, you’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up! Act like a man! Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’”
Following the remarks, autism activists and parents are now calling for Savage’s job. The radio talk show host was once fired from his MSNBC show for comments on homosexuality.
However, everyday parents and activists aren’t the only ones speaking out against Savage’s comments. Stars who are affected by autism, which affects one in 150 kids in America, are responding as well.
Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete, whose 10-year-old son Rodney Jr. suffers from autism, are not keeping quiet.
“We find it shocking that the individuals who name-call and pass judgment on families like ours have had zero experience with the disorder,” the couple said in a statement.
Savage, whose radio audience ranks in size only behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, defended himself on his blog, writing, “My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community’s attempt to label too many children or adults as ‘autistic.’”
He also responded to the criticism on his radio show Monday, saying, " Do you want to live in a world where one statement that offends somebody could cost you your career? There is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism. None.”
But autism expert Laurie Stephens refuted Savage’s analysis.
“That’s absolutely not accurate. There are several medical ways to look at autism. It’s absolutely possible to test children even before the age of two,” Stephens told Access Hollywood.
Jenny McCarthy is also outspoken when it comes to the disability. An activist since her 6-year-old son’s diagnosis, she and boyfriend Jim Carrey led a march on Washington to call for safe vaccines, that they believe could lead to fewer cases of autism.
Despite the hurdles of autism, the Peete family continues to remain positive and hopes others will do the same.
“We see how brilliant he is in different ways”, Holly said of her son. “I would love to encourage the world to embrace these children.”