Deaf community outraged after interpreter signs gibberish during Irma press conference
Things didn’t go well when an amateur interpreter for the deaf was chosen at the last minute to provide sign language for a press conference ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Before the storm hit the shores of Florida, Manatee County leaders were getting ready to give a press conference with “crucial” information.
That’s when they decided at the last minute to call Marshall Greene to interpret for deaf viewers using sign language.
Greene, who is a lifeguard began signing words like “pizza,” “bear,” and “monster,” all words that had nothing to do with what was actually being said during the press conference.
“I knew something went horribly wrong,” Charlene McCarthy, who owns VisCom, a company that often provides interpreters for the county said.
“It was horribly unnerving for me to watch that, knowing I could provide a qualified, certified interpreter,” she stated.
Greene’s has told the media that he was just doing what was asked of him.
“He can’t expect to communicate something he doesn’t know,” Greene’s father said.
Social media was up in arms about the situation, writing that the “interpreter” posed a “danger” to society.
“Who is this person you are using as a sign language interpreter? This person is not qualified!” Sandra Roche commented.
“What a disservice to the deaf community at such a critical time,” Maggie Gregory posted.
Others weren’t as angry about the whole thing. “Take it easy on the guy!” Becky Bates-Williams wrote. “I’ve been in his position and it is frightening… He is doing the best he can.”
“It was obvious to me he wasn’t a professional interpreter. I was totally shocked,” Chris Wagner, former president of the National Association of the Deaf stated.
The deaf community is asking for an apology from the county.