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Wilton Family: Ann Coulter’s ‘Ignorance’ Inspires Effort to End the ‘R-Word’

After Coulter's recent slur against President Obama, longtime resident and Wilton Y employee Gloria Bass launched a campaign asking residents to pledge never to use the R-word. At the heart of the effort is the love for her 19-year-old grandson.

The topic of special needs is one Gloria Bass knows well. She’s the special needs coordinator at the Wilton Y, and her husband’s 19-year-old grandson, Artie, has intellectual delays and processing disorder.

So, when news broke that Republican commentator Ann Coulter used the R-word as a slur against President Obama in a tweet following Monday’s debate, Bass was understandably upset.

“I’ve heard the word often—it’s disturbing. It’s not an appropriate way to describe someone,” she said. “People need to be aware—it’s not an okay word.”

In her tweet, Coulter wrote: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”

Artie, who graduated Wilton High School last June, now attends the Rise Life Skills Program at Sacred Heart University and volunteers at the Y. On weekends he plays ice hockey and loves to go to antique car shows with his grandparents.

“He presents well but because of his disabilities, there’s a part of him that doesn’t get what people are saying. They’ll say, ‘What are you, retarded?’ Once he said, ‘My friend told me I was retarded.’ People don’t realize the impact. I’ve always wanted him to feel like a typical person, and he’s been very successful. I’ve spent years getting him prepared and his self-confidence up, and one little word becomes a huge word. It was very hard to explain it to him without hurting his feelings. I’m hurting for Artie,” Bass said.

The significant media coverage of public reaction once Coulter’s tweet went viral helped motivate Bass to try and raise awareness of how hurtful the R-word can be. Her idea was to create a contract that people could sign, pledging to never say the word themselves, and to raise awareness about ending the use of the word by others.

“We have to do something while this is out here and people are paying attention, this is the time to try to get attention to this. My daughter said, ‘Let’s get a contract together. Let’s get it done right now.’ So the two of us worked on it,” Bass explained.

Bass’s daughter, Faith Filiault, works as an advocate for families of children with special needs, running her Wilton-based practice, Advocate with Faith. She quickly got the electronic version of the contract online and on Facebook through Constant Contact. The two women are hoping the link goes viral—through Wilton and beyond.

“I just want people to stop and think before they open their mouth. I want parents to teach their kids so that kids aren’t making fun of it. Everybody has got to know somebody. What if it were their own child, their own brother, their own sister?” Filiault said.

Coulter followed up her post-debate tweet the following day with a second one that also contained the slur. Several published reports featured an open letter to Coulter written by Special Olympics athlete John Franklin Stephens, which went viral as well. Stephens, a 30-year-old man with Down syndrome, wrote:

“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.”

If Bass had the chance to talk to Coulter, she said she’d ask the pundit a very direct question.

“She’s a tough person to try to talk to but my question to her would be, ‘Do you understand how much you’re hurting people? Do you get how much you’re affecting the lives of so many children and adults?’"

Bass hopes to circulate paper copies of the contract for people to sign as well, either at the Wilton Y or elsewhere in town. She hopes to have copies during the Halloween Walk in Wilton Center on Saturday, and said she wants the entire community to take part.

“Artie was involved with Best Buddies at Wilton High School, and last year the group had their classmates sign a pledge that they would not use the r-word. I was impressed, but it needs to be on a larger scale. The community needs to be more onboard with it. The kids are signing it—we need the parents to sign it too. It has to start from the parents.”

Bass won’t be sending any copies to Coulter; instead, she plans to focus on raising awareness here at home.

“I don’t know that [Coulter] gets it because she’s selfish. I don’t think that she’ll apologize. She did it before and didn’t apologize then.”

To sign the contract pledging to end the use of the R-word, click here.

Amelia piccolo October 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I agree with your intent to disgrace Coulter but you are using a word "whoring" which I find offensive to describe someone you disagree with. The American public has become insensitive to the use of language and I encourage everyone to think before they speak.
Amelia piccolo October 28, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Using the term "deaf and Dumb" is equally insensitive. Now we know that some individuals were not able to speak due to undeveloped cheek muscles. Lose the word "dumb". Yes, Coulter should be dealt with especially by losing her place in the media.
Amelia piccolo October 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Anne Coulter represents no one except her ego-maniac self.
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:00 AM
UH OH IT'S THE THOUGHT POLICE....OFF TO CENSOR THOSE WHO DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM! .THEY NEVER SEEM TO GET IT WHEN HOLLYWOOD GOES AFTER OUR CHILDREN.. Get real folks I HAVE CHILDREN WITH MORE COMPLICATIONS THAN THOSE. U R FOOLS. GO AWAY AND GET AN EDUCATION. WE WORK OUR DERRIERES OFF AND DON'T WHINE OR COMPLAIN.. WE WORK AND ..WE TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE. WE GIVE TO CHARITY WE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPT UNIONS AND WE FIGHT AGAINST OBAMA SO SUE THE MAJORITY..U GUYS DO NOT GET IT. IF OBAMA WINS U JUST LOST ALL WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF U. ATLAS SHRUGGED.. READ IT WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND WORKS TODAY. IF U GO UP AGAINST THOSE WHO TAKE CARE OF U THEN U LOSE US. THEN SEE WHAT HAPPENS ..HAVE U NOT STUDIED THE HISTORY OF SOCIALISM OR FASCISM OR COMMUNISM? Wilting in Wilton. FOOLS.
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:02 AM
Julia get an education we do MORE than Julia. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING.
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:13 AM
ANN COULTER IS A COMMON SENSE INDIVIDUAL. Oh OK SO U DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE CONSTUTUTION..ONLY FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR SOME PEOPLE ..OH LIKE YOU! WE WILLL GLADLY PUT U BACK ON YOUR BOAT BACK TO THE COUNTRY THAT APPARENTLY GAVE YOU YOUR WARPED BELIEFS. WE ARE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND WE ARE A FREE AND SOVEREIGN NATION AND SOCIETY. WE ARE A PEOPLE FREE FROM OPPRESSION WHICH YOU FAIL TO UNDERSTAND. NOW U THINK U CAN IMPOSE YOUR SILLY BELIEFS UPON US? I CAN SEE THAT U WANT PEOPLE TO BECOME A BIG GIGANTIC SOCIALIST NATION..NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. THE GIANT IS NOW AWAKE.
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:14 AM
CONSTITUTION..bad computer!
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:17 AM
We have more compassion than u. u waste your mind on unimportant things ..u r hurt by silly words which apply to u not this child. He is not retarded YOU ARE.
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:19 AM
YOU SHOULD BE EMBARRASSD BY YOUR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.
JTP October 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM
yes apparently I am but only God knows.. but I do understand more than you and I care more than u. I give more than you. I take care of people more than you. You only care about things which are unimportant. You do yourself a disservice.
Faith Filiault October 29, 2012 at 12:04 PM
All caps indicates the writer thinks nearly everything spewing from his mouth is of utmost importance. And many more reasons can be found here - http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=all%20caps Thank you to all those courageous, adult, and mature enough to use their names. I ask this comment to be the last comment in response to JTP - Don't give this person the satisfaction of any further discussion. Let's not loose focus! www.adisabilityrelatednetwork.org
Lorna October 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Evelyn, Should I have spelled "witch" with the first letter "b"? Oh, I see I misspelled Nicole's last name. Guess I don't spend enough time following entertainment crap. Thanks for setting me straight. - L
Cathy October 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM
If I were Gloria or Faith, I would be unhappy that my grandson or nephew were compared to Obama. Artie is most probably an innocent, honest and caring individual.
Richard Lucas October 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Ayn Rand is not the answer. Especially for those that espouse her Objectivism theories and have absolutely no clue as to what they are talking about. Yes, she believed in personal achievement and self righteousness, BUT at NO harm to others. She believed in personal responsibility as well. Something a lot of you Atlas Shrugged preachers seem to ignore. Never mind the fact that the book is fiction, which is ironic. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from responsibility. Jtp. You are wrong on many levels.
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:12 AM
U r so wrong u do not understand strife, u do not understand war ..u DO NOT UNDERSTAND sacrifice u r a liberal....who never saved a life..did u? Ever? I doubt it. U do not know history because if u did u would not speak as u do. IGNORNCE IS BLISS.
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:24 AM
IGNORANCE IS TRULY BLISS for u screwing THE REST of us WHO WORK our asses off. HOW SELF INDULGENT CAN U POSSIBLY BE? Ok off to employ people WHO ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND THIS AND TAKE CARE OF HURRICANE VICTIMS. IDIOT.
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:29 AM
Oh and so u r a gossip. And u know this about Ann how..? U don't do u? gossip monger .the lowest of the low. YOU ARE A BOTTOM SCRAPER... So therefore no one wants to listen to you anymore.
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:37 AM
You r beyond transparent ..You CANNOT STAND THE FACT THAT COULTER IS NOT BULIMIC...BECAUSE YOUR POLICIES ARE FAILING YOU STRIKE OUT LIKE CHILDREN ON A PLAYGROUND AND ARE BULLIES. THAT IS WHY THESE PEOPLE HAVE IDIOTIC RETORTS...ZERO ECONOMIC UNDERSTANDING..JUST COMMENTS HOW SHE LOOKS? Ha! YOU WOULD BE THROWN OUT OF SCHOOL IN less than 2 shakes of your sushi smelling hair balls. YOU ARE BULLIES BECAUSE THAT IS YOUR LAST RESORT. FOOLS.
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:48 AM
Dear Someone's Dad I am too and we need Ann because she stands up to bullies who want to change this country for the worst and steal my hard earned dough to support That IDIOT OBAMA 's corrupt Chicago moron polices.."moron" meaning RETARDED...THAT IS A WORD..GET A LIFE . Get a thesaurus ! MEN LOVE ANN..WE LOVE SMART WOMEN . RIGHT ON ANN! YOU ARE A PATRIOT AND NEVER GIVE UP!
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:51 AM
YES.
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:55 AM
Has nothing to do with politics unless you r a liberal who cannot stand conservatives...that is ALL THIS IS ABOUT..AND WHY OH WHY do SOME people THINK THEY CAN POLICE OUR WORDS.?. Socialists r us! MAO..AAAANITA..WHERE R U?
JTP October 31, 2012 at 09:57 AM
As a man I can ascertain that she is probably a very bitter ugly woman...on the inside. Go to church,say a prayer and go shopping..
JTP October 31, 2012 at 10:01 AM
I meant Lorna. Sorry Lorna u r not a very nice person. U r of angry..go vacation...relax, and then one back and push the refresh button. Joe Biden agrees. SMILE
JTP October 31, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Uh oh...female nastiness! No have BRAINS THESE R ALWAYS THE BULLIES..LORNA Is a bully..probably a big fat one ...jealous of gorgeous Ann! That's the only reason why she responds this way. It's a common thing. Very obvious ..sushi too. She is jealous of blondes.. YES...what would Jung have to say about these two women? Verrrrry interesting..but they r BOOOORING
JTP October 31, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Thank you Cliff..I have a son who has high IQ but many learning disabilities...he is a romney loving kid...LOVE WOMEN LIKE ANN SHE Steps up to bat for many kids. These women are playing partisan politics. Just ignore them..although they r entertaining!
JTP October 31, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Sheryl get over it we have a son high iq learning disabilities s RETARDED IN CERTAIN APECTS AS IS THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD..MEANING SLOW. YES AND U R RETARDED FOR PUTTING ALL OF US THROUGH THS MYOPIC DISCUSSION! Get it? RETARDED RETARDED RETARDE RETARDED, see it is your problem...NOT THE WORD. BECOME A BIT MORE ERUDITE.HAVE AN EPHIPANY AND LEARN TO RELAX AND LOVE LIFE...DON'T LOOK AT THE NEGATIVE SIDE GO TO A HIGHER LEVEL...ONLY WHERE BLONDES CAN GO. LOL.
JTP November 02, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Not wrong at all just highly educated and a very concerned citizen. U r ruining this great nation trying to police EVRYONE. Go back to the USSR.
Amo Probus November 06, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I predict Obama will take a big lead early tomorrow- until Republicans get off work. -Tim Tebow
Alethiologist November 06, 2012 at 12:35 AM
L Nope, guess again! :)
Ipso Facto November 06, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Why am I not surprised that Cliff is sticking up for that sociopathic, misanthropic loon Coulter. Cliff, you could take a lesson from Mark Twain. “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

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