Wednesday 28 September 2016

Mother of son with dwarfism upset by Brendan O'Carroll's use of 'M' word in marriage referendum video

Published 29/04/2015 | 15:26

The mother of a six-year-old boy who has dwarfism has spoken to Ryan Tubridy about her upset over Brendan O'Carroll using the word 'midget' in his marriage referendum video.

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O'Carroll filmed a video in character as Mrs Brown in support of a 'yes' vote in the upcoming same sex marriage referendum in which he substituted the word 'marriage' for 'midget' and declared, "Stand up for midget equality!".

Trish (who did not wish to be identified) said, "Those that have family who have people that have dwarfism, and there are many many types of dwarfism, we find this word, the word 'midget' a highly offensive and derogatory word."

She continued, "I know Brendan O'Carroll probably didn't mean anything malicious in his use of the word, but it's just to educate people that it's not an acceptable term to use."

Trish, whose son is in Senior Infants and is a keen swimmer and loves sports, said that she felt that the 'M' word is comparable to the 'N' word. 

In an email to the Ryan Tubridy Show on 2FM she had written, "Brendan didn't use the 'N' word to describe black people as this is thankfully totally unacceptable in most of today's society."

She told Ryan, "I do [feel it's comparable], and not just I, anybody who has a family member or a friend who has dwarfism would feel the same way and do feel the same way," she explained.

Trish felt that Brendan took a "cheap shot" by using the word.

"I didn't see what people with short stature, call them 'midgets' as he called them, has got to do with marriage equality.  I just saw it as a source of ridicule.  It was a cheap shot.  It was just a gag.

"We're trying to portray people that have been born with this condition as positive role models.  They are not all actors that do pantomime at Christmas.  There are orthopaedic surgeons who have ahcondroplasia which is the form of dwarfism my son has."

Trish broke down as she revealed to Ryan that the news that her son had the condition was not delivered in a sensitive manner when he was born.

"The obstetrician tried to explain the condition to me by using the term, 'Do you know a clown in a circus?  He'd be one of those.'  That's the attitude that's out there.  It's just comments that people think it's okay to refer to these people in a derogatory fashion and it's not okay."

The mum of two said she knew Brendan did not mean to cause offence but she wanted to raise awareness about the issue.

"I would like to know and think that Brendan O'Carroll did not mean to in any way cause offence and I believe that, I really do," she said.  "I just want to let people know its not okay to have people of short stature as a source of ridicule, as a gag."

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