“I really appreciate that he came to Fullerton and shared his comedy with our city.”
–Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, referring to actor Andy Dick, who had that night used the word “retard” to refer to autistic people during the annual Comedy Show for Autism.
According to an October 20 article in Fullerton College’s newspaper The Hornet, comedian Andy Dick used the word “retard” in reference to autistic people during a charity event Thursday night meant to raise awareness of the condition itself. Event organizers Fullerton Cares quickly released a statement distancing themselves “from (Dick’s) statement onstage and emphasize that we do not condone or endorse this type of language,” referring to the actor’s “slur.” The statement went on to “apologize deeply to anyone who was affected by this language.” (see illustration below)
According to the Hornet Andy Dick ‘“began speaking on his brother who has just passed away, but that his brother had been dying for “twenty years” and had been asking Dick for money, to which Dick said “That’s why I’m in Fullerton for retards.”” Half of the attendees reportedly left the main room of the Fullerton Ballroom as the comedian was booed from the audience.
Andy Dick himself later apologized, writing in a statement “I shouldn’t use that word.”
Incredibly, Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, who attended the benefit show, was wiling to defend the unpredictable actor’s comments, saying “I really appreciate that he came to Fullerton and shared his comedy with our city. I think this isn’t the last your (sic) going to see of him, that is not the word that will define him,” and “I know Andy Dick in his heart, and his personal connection with autism and I think that it’s more than one word. I think he regrets the use of that but that in fairness we need to look at the whole body of who he is and who his family is.” (Andy Dick referred to himself in the article as being “slightly autistic,” saying “I honestly feel that I’m on the spectrum,” but it is unclear in the article whether or not Mr. Dick has ever been formally diagnosed with the disorder.)
Fullerton resident Kris Hanna had more sense than Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, telling the Hornet that she thought it was “crossing the line to say what he said about autistic people.” Another attendee, Fred Allen, said of Andy Dick’s comments ‘“Off cuff, should be better suited for where he’s at, especially the retard shit man, America’s a beautiful place and you shouldn’t take advantage of what America’s good for.”’
Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald should reconsider supporting unsupportable behavior, and keep in mind that when she speaks to the media, even a local college newspaper, she will be viewed on some level as representing the City of Fullerton, even if many would prefer that she wasn’t in the position to do so.