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Denis Leary and autism: Apology accepted, but not enough

October 31, 2008 |  4:49 pm

After Denis Leary's apology for the comments he made about autistic children in his book, "Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid," autism activists say they have called off a nationwide protest but say they want a percentage of the proceeds of his book to go to help children diagnosed with autism -- either that, or deletion of the offending chapter. That chapter contains the following comments:

"There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you -- yer kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both."

Autism United's statement today included the following:

"Autism United acknowledges Denis Leary for his belated apology for the harm done by his statements about people with autism and their families made in his recently published book, "Why We Suck."

"I feel that Denis' apology was enough," said comedian Mark Anthony Ramirez, a spokesman for Autism United and Gabby's Kids, and the father of a child diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. "But his claim that his comments were taken out of context is a veiled attempt to elicit more sales."

"As a parent of a child with autism, I feel he owes the autism community the money he is making for using what has quickly become an epidemic in our country as a cheap ploy to sell his book," said Ramirez. "He should donate a portion of his sales to assist children with autism."

Leary's comments offended many parents of children with autism. A blog by Lisa Jo Rudy asks if people aren't playing into Leary's hands by giving him publicity. "Today, Leary is front page news, and Jenny McCarthy is quoted as saying --in US Magazine-- 'Whoo! First of all, let me tell you, the autism community has received probably 10,000 e-mails [saying] "Go kill him! Go yell at him!" ' Go KILL him? Assuming that Jenny is telling even half the truth, there are tens of thousands of autism-related families out there thinking about Leary, writing about Leary, and caring about Leary to the point where they're actually writing letters to ask for his demise. Wow."

-- Rosie Mestel

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