Thursday, 15 August 2013

My Comments in the Press

I recently blogged about the jokes made by Ciarnan Helferty, the chair of Amnesty UK. Since referring himself to their board of conduct, he decided to resign a couple of days ago, something I think was a wise decision. The Metro Newspaper and the Daily Beast asked me for comments, which are below, but I'll say it here too. I believe it is right to accept the apology made by Ciarnan Helferty and I also believe it was right for him to step down. Amnesty International do fantastic work around the world, and I would hate for their reputation to be damaged by poorly chosen comments from one individual.

To be honest, I have seen those jokes before. I think he copied and pasted those jokes from other Twitter accounts in a bid to gain more popularity. I could be wrong, but I think the jokes were daft, rather than offensive. I felt offended at them because of who he was, rather than the jokes themselves.

Anyway though, here's my comment on Page 7 in the Metro:

Link to the full newspaper is here (may require an email address to view).

The Daily Beast ran a full online article about it, which can be seen here.

I'm actually glad that it wasn't featured by too many news agencies, as I think that would do a lot of harm to both Amnesty International and the stigma around schizophrenia. After all, when an unflattering picture of Beyonce made its way onto the internet, she asked for it to be removed. What happened? The picture went viral. Likewise, I think if too many news agencies report on this, more people will make schizophrenia jokes and will add to the myths and the already huge stigma.

Ciarnan Helferty made a bad decision numerous times tweeting those jokes. But the big picture is, if he is dragged any further through the mud, Amnesty International will follow him. Let's all shake hands and move on!

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