Autism Group Demands CBS Apologize for 'Big Brother' Contestant's Remark
NEW YORK – A national autism advocacy group is demanding an apology from CBS over a disparaging remark a contestant on the reality show "Big Brother" made about people with the disorder.
John Gilmore, executive director of Autism United, said Monday that his group has been trying to speak with CBS executives since last week's broadcast.
On that episode, a contestant named Adam, who claims to work for an autism foundation, said he would spend his winnings on a hair salon for people with developmental disabilities "so retards can get it together and get their hair done."
His partner, Sheila, told him: "Don't call them that."
Adam responded: "Disabled kids. I can call them whatever I want. I work with them all day, OK?"
The show's Web site describes him as a 29-year-old public relations manager from Delray Beach, Fla.
There was no immediate response Monday to a call seeking comment from CBS.
"Big Brother" also has been condemned for contestants' remarks on incest, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Some contestants have been removed following incidents that were deemed violent or racist.
The premise of the show is that contestants -- or "houseguests" -- are isolated from the outside world while under constant surveillance. Once a week, they vote to evict a member of the group.
When just two people remain, a jury of voted-off contestants picks the "Big Brother" winner of the $500,000 grand prize.
Autism is a complex disorder featuring poor social interaction and communication skills.