Earlier this week, 50 Cent posted a video to his Instagram account mocking and bullying a young autistic man, Andrew Farrell. He later apologized and attempted to make amends by making a large donation to Autism Speaks. As expected, the media surrounding this event has centered the experiences of the victim’s family while completely ignoring what, if anything the actually autistic person has to say. A hastily made donation to an organization that works against autistic people is not an apology, even with the best of intentions.
Many in the Autistic Community share our frustration.
“As a black autistic person, I accept your apology for mocking a young autistic employee live on Instagram.
However, you screwed things up when you hastily donated to Autism Speaks with little to no research on the company. I understand you want to contribute to a good cause as a sign that you want to spread autism awareness. But donating to Autism $peaks is not the way to do it. They do not stand for autism acceptance and empowering the autistic community. A$ seeks to cure autism and only make money to advertise how tragic autism is.”
Activist and BAS Organizer Amy Sequenzia responded as well:
“How is this helping if he is “apologizing” for mocking an Autistic person by donating money to an organization that will not only mock, but dehumanize Autistics?”
In making a donation to a group that is largely considered a hate group by many in the autistic community, 50 Cent is now financially supporting the silencing, bullying and erasure of actually autistic voices. We realize that it was very likely not his intent to do more harm. However, harm has been done. We encourage everyone to please research BEFORE you donate to make sure that you are actually helping the people that your organization purports to serve. We encourage 50 Cent to reach out to actually autistic voices to learn about the harm that Autism Speaks does to our community. Please support organizations such as Autism Women’s Network and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network that are by and for autistic people and that work toward autistic civil rights instead of against them.