Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Response to Germain's Comments

While Germain is not the only one to have made some not so nice comments his was the worst. This is my response. If you want to write a letter yourself email  film@ap.org  To see the stories click herehere, and here
To Whom It May Concern,

It saddens me to have to write an email like this. As the mother of an autistic child I have enough battles on my hand, and certainly do not need to take on any more. But I recently read a comment made by one of your AP writers that I just can not let go. When an established writer like Mr. David Germain makes a comment in a very public review that has been picked up and ran all over the word, a review that is both offensive and just plain disturbing to the entire Autistic Community, something has to be done. So I am writing to you and I ask, no I beg, for the sake of the estimated 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide who have autism a retraction and apology from Mr. Germain.

What exactly is it that we, as a community, find offensive? This is the statement we are referring to which appeared in his recent review of the movie Extremely LOUD Incredibly CLOSE.

“Newcomer Thomas Horn, the 13-year-old star who was cast after the filmmakers saw him on a “Jeopardy!” kids episode, is a mixed bag, holding his own among the adult actors but, through no fault of his own, forced to behave with excessive shrillness much of the time.

That’s because his character, Oskar Schell, may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism (his medical tests, we’re told, were inconclusive). You make allowances in life for people you encounter with autism, but spending two hours with a fictional character possessing autistic qualities can be grating.

Perhaps Germain makes “allowances” for the autism people in his life, but the autism community refuses to do the same about his ignorant and extremely insensitive comment. I am sure he would not even think about writing that he makes “allowances” about a movie character’s race or sexual orientation. The public outrage over that type of comment would be tremendous.

I understand the response as of now has been "is a veteran movie reviewer for the AP, Mr. Germain is expected to mince no words in expressing his opinion about the various elements of a motion picture and sometimes those words can seem overly harsh. But he in no way intended to be insensitive to the real-life challenges facing autistic children and their parents."  Steve Loeper

We understand that this is based on a fictional character but I know for a fact had the issue at stake been the characters race, sex, orientation, or any visible disability the paper would have retracted the article and provide the apology. Just because Mr. Germain is a seasoned writer does not mean he throws all compassion out and watch his wording. there are many other ways the statement could have been made without coming off as offensive. What I ask is what point was he trying to make by saying "you make allowances in life for people with autism" What did this statement have to do with the film other than being a bigoted point of view.

The autism community may not be as big as others, but none the less, we too our outraged and offended by this.

Every day I wake up and hope that TODAY, Today is the day that the world will see my boy for who he is and not just a label. Today is the day that he will be accepted, understood or at least tolerated. With reviews and comments like the ones that Mr. Germain made lingering out there, well that day is further away. Please, I ask that you retract this review and demand that Mr. Germaine make amends for his complete lack of compassion and respect. My son and all the others out there deserve it.

Sincerely yours,

*special thanks to Mama's turn now for putting into words what we wanted to say and allowing us to use her letter and add to it if we chose to* Visit her http://www.blog.mamasturnnow.com/

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