Actress Jennifer Aniston is the latest in a string of public figures to take heat for using the word “retard.”
While appearing on Live with Regis and Kelly on Thursday, Aniston was asked about a photo shoot appearing in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar where the actress poses in styles reminiscent of iconic Barbra Streisand images.
Host Regis Philbin said, “you’re playing dress up.” Aniston replied, “Yes, I play dress up. I do it for a living, like a retard.”
The comments drew sharp rebuke from advocates for those with intellectual disabilities who have long fought to end use of the term.
“The pervasive use of the r-word, even in an off the cuff self-deprecating manner, dehumanizes people with intellectual disabilities and perpetuates painful stereotypes that are a great source of suffering and negative stigma,” Special Olympics officials said in a statement. The organization sponsors the ongoing campaign “Spread the Word to End the Word.”
Other groups speaking out against Aniston’s choice of language include The Arc of the United States and the National Down Syndrome Society.
Earlier this year, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel apologized after using the term. Sarah Silverman, Rush Limbaugh and others have also come under fire for their choice of words in recent times.