NOT Okay To Use The ‘R’ Word

I grew up in Vancouver watching the Variety Club Telethon, back in the days when it was live for 22 hours straight from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

As a natural extension of that, it made sense, when I was in my 20’s, to get involved with Variety Club… and for many years, I worked with a group of friends, who did everything from being clowns on the Telethon Morning segment, answering phones, being Ringo The Phone, running the Lobby Photo Booth, to running the Donation presentation area.

In between Telethons, we were busy most weekends, running or supporting events, and we worked and had fun with a lot of challenged and underprivileged kids and adults.

In more recent times, the Candidate I worked with in the last Federal election was mobility challenged.

Throughout my entire life, I have always hated the word RETARDED.

I don’t care if it is being applied to someone with an actual challenge, or someone referring to an awkward moment a buddy has.  It doesn’t matter.

The reason this came up, as a Blog Post topic was due to George Stroumboulopoulos’ show on CBC.

The guest that Strombo had on, was Evan Sneider.  An actor, who has Down syndrome… but that is a misnomer, because Evan is one of the most upbeat people I’ve seen in a long time.

I wish I could find something else on Evan, but I must borrow from Strombo’s website for Evan’s Bio:





Every once in a while, an actor delivers a breakthrough performance that just blows you away. Jodie Foster did it in ‘Taxi Driver.’ Edward Norton did it in ‘Primal Fear.’ Here’s another name to add to the list. Evan Sneider. Only, Evan isn’t just breaking through – he’s breaking down barriers.

Evan is the first actor with Down syndrome, to play the lead in a feature film. The movie is called ‘Girlfriend’ and Evan’s performance has earned him rave reviews. In fact, during filming, he amazed the cast and crew with his ability to disappear into his character. And how’s this for praise ? His co-star Amanda Plummer – a world-class actor in her own right – calls him ‘one of the greatest actors’ she’s ever worked with.

And Evan has worked hard to get there. Born in Boston, he was determined to be an actor from an early age. In high school, he studied drama and creative writing and performed in dozens of community-theatre productions. Then in 2007, he appeared in a short film called ‘The Replacement Child’. Now, he brings all of his experiences to bear in ‘Girlfriend.’ Evan is the moral centre of the story, about a young man with Down syndrome who falls hard for a single mom.


During their interview, Evan and George got into a discussion of the ‘R’ Word… and how hurtful it is.

I couldn’t embed the video from the Strombo show, so here is the video from the R-Word website…

Please be advised, it contains some language that is strong, provocative and “Not Acceptable”

It isn’t okay to use this term…

It is derogatory, and insulting.

We’ve worked to eliminate a lot of words that are hurtful… I’m glad to see there is a campaign to help create awareness on this issue.

Not Okay To Say The R Word -

You can follow the R Word Campaign on Twitter, or get more information on the R Word website.

The only R Word I want to hear is on Pirate Day !!!



  1. Shaun O'Banion on July 14, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Came across your page by accident while looking for a link to the Strombo show for my Twitter feed.

    As one of the producers on “Girlfriend,” and a good friend of Evan Sneider’s, I wanted to thank you for fighting the good fight and shining a light on the campaign to end the ‘R’ word.

    Evan, as you may or may not know, is deeply affected by the word and, shortly after our film trailer appeared on YouTube, a large number of trolls found it necessary to use the word in comments on the trailer page. Evan called me that first night sobbing.

    Eventually, we found a way to ease his feelings and prepare him for the onslaught of Internet jerks that would likely be leaving more comments… But it was still tough.

    Anyway. Thanks.


Leave a Comment