Rapper/actor 50 Cent is currently enduring a backlash from fans, after tweeting an insensitive comment about autism just days ago.
The “In Da Club” rapper retweeted a comment from a fan who said “@50cent Release the album or get shot again,” in reference to his album, Five (Murder by Numbers), that was scheduled for release earlier this year. He then responded, “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic.” He followed up with a second tweet saying, “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else.”
50 Cent’s tweets created a firestorm of criticism, and prompted the 21 Jump Street actress and mother of an autistic son, Holly Robinson Peete, to write an open letter to the rapper saying her heart sank when she read his tweets, and that she hoped his Twitter account had been hacked.
Dear 50 Cent,
Since last night my twitter timeline is flooded with tweets and retweets about a response you posted to someone who insulted you. When I read it my heart sank. I thought maybe your account had been hacked. No such luck. Granted, his comment was completely out of line but your retort: “i just saw your picture fool you look autistic”- was so so disappointing. I mean, that’s your comeback?? And you didn’t stop there. You went on to joke about not wanting “special ed kids” on your timeline. Seriously, THIS is how you use your platform of 8 million plus followers??
I’ve met you in passing over the years and I know you are a bright, astute businessman and legitimate philanthropist so it is with a bit of sincere confusion that I ask you… Do you even know what autism is? And what exactly does “autistic” look like? Do you know how wildly prevalent autism is? 1 in 88 have it. That’s 1 in 54 boys. Families suffer a social stigma you will never know. It is a financial and emotional drain for millions, so our non-profit- HollyRod Foundation works hard to raise funds to help these families cope…
I hope you can see how what you might see as a benign insult-or not- was so randomly hurtful, immature and misinformed. Maybe you are naive or indifferent as to how many of your fans might be deeply and personally offended by your insult. At the very least-can you please delete it? If you’ve read your mentions today I am sure you have felt the wrath of autism parents. We are no joke. Neither is autism. We are not about to let you attempt to make “autistic” the new “R-word” under our watch.
Finally, this is my son Rodney Peete. He has autism. So I guess this is what autistic looks like? He is in special ed. He loves rap music and is a HUGE fan of yours. He’s a tremendous kid. He has to deal with so much trying to fit in. This isn’t helping.
Holly Robinson Pete
The controversial tweets have since been removed 50 Cent’s timeline, but he has yet to formally apologize for his comments. Do you think his tweets were insensitive?
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC