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Advocates React To "Idol" Judge's "Prehistoric" Comment

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA--Well it's happened again: For the second time in two months, a radio host has resurrected a term many of us hoped had vanished with the dinosaurs.

Kyle Sandilands is a famous co-host of a popular morning radio show and judge on the "Australian Idol" television show.

During the Sunday night airing of "Idol", the 35-year-old criticized the performance of contestant Bobby Flynn by calling him a full "mong", which is short for "mongoloid".

Until the 1970s, "mongoloid" was the recognized term for people with Down syndrome. Today it is considered insulting and degrading.

Disability advocacy groups and ministers of state and federal disability and community services responded immediately by calling for Sandilands to publicly apologize for the slur.

Anna Magnus, president of the Down Syndrome Association of Queensland, told News Limited that parents have been flooding the organization with complaints over Sandilands' "prehistoric terminology."

Jann Stuckey, Queensland opposition spokesperson for disability services, said: "For a judge on a show which is watched by so many young people he is clearly not displaying an appropriate level of maturity or empathy to those in our community who have disabilities."

By Tuesday, the television network that airs "Idol" had not commented publicly on the controversy.

In late August, a disc jockey at an Alliance, Ohio radio station was suspended for a week and forced to apologize for running a radio contest he called "Name That Tune with Mongoloid Mike". The WZKL Q92 host, known only under the on-air name "Igor" had contestants guess the title of a song, the words of which were mumbled by a caller trying to imitate a person with an intellectual disability.

Igor apologized on the air in response to a campaign launched by parents and advocates of people with developmental disabilities, which included threats to boycott advertisers.

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.