On June 6, 2016, a group of self-advocate leaders met with Gary Owen to discuss offensive content in his Showtime comedy special “I Agree With Myself”.
Statement from Julie Petty, Loretta Claiborne, Ricardo Thornton and Frank Stephens:
Today, Julie Petty (Bentonville, Arkansas), Loretta Claiborne (York, Pennsylvania), Ricardo Thornton (Washington, D.C.) and Frank Stephens (Fairfax, Virginia), representing a broad coalition of disability advocates, met with Gary Owen, a comedian and entertainer. The meeting was arranged for both sides to listen and hear one another’s perspectives about a segment on Mr. Owen’s comedy special on Showtime.
Prior to the meeting, Mr. Owen decided to remove the segment in his Showtime special in which he depicts people with intellectual disabilities. Effective immediately, the special will still be available On Demand but will not include this portion.
The meeting was educational, positive and productive. The outcomes from the meeting were significant. Mr. Owen made positive commitments regarding use of the “R word” in his comedy routine.
The coalition has agreed to end its advocacy efforts in this situation. The coalition, through the voices of self advocates Julie Petty, Loretta Claiborne, Ricardo Thornton and Frank Stephens, express our appreciation to Mr. Owen for listening and acting positively to further understanding and healing.