×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Special Olympics Asks Showtime to Remove Comedian’s ‘Retarded’ Jokes From Special

Special Olympics has launched a petition against Showtime and comedian Gary Owen due to his use of the word “retarded” in his comedy special for the cabler.

In his special, “I Agree with Myself,” which first aired in January 2015 and aired again Monday night (the program is now available on Showtime On Demand), the comedian uses the word to talk about his cousin, Tina.

“Tina’s retarded,” he says. “She’s not slow. It’s full-blown. It is what it is.” He then goes on to describe learning that she had an STD, and make jokes about her having sex.

His routine also mocks the Special Olympics as well. “The 100-meter dash is the funniest s–t you’ll want to see,” he says, “because it’s literally eight people running with no arm swing.”

Special Olympics chair Tim Shriver has reached out to Showtime president and CEO David Nevins to request removal of the offending segment of the show.

The organization has also launched a petition on social media, which has over 1,000 signatures to date. “We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating,” says the petition. “Please join us in signing the petition to demand that Showtime remove this segment of the comedy special from their air and implore Gary Owen to apologize for his use of the R-word and take the pledge to not use the R-word.”

“People with intellectual disabilities—one of the largest groups of people with disabilities in the world—have suffered generations of discrimination and humiliation,” Shriver told Variety in a statement. “In the 21st century, they, together with their families and friends, are continuing their battle for the simplest form of justice: the justice that comes with a recognition of their full humanity. In my own experience, when I ask people—be they first graders or media figures—to join in stopping the casual use of the word ‘retarded,’ they universally agree to do so.  Most want to go further: they want to understand better how they can serve as agents of acceptance and dignity. None of this comedy routine is funny. At all. It is callous and gratuitous verbal violence. We are determined to stop it.”

A rep for the comedian and Showtime were not immediately available for comment.

More TV

  • Kevin BarnettFOX 'Rel' TV show panel,

    Comedian Kevin Barnett Dies in Mexico at 32

    Kevin Barnett, the comedian behind Fox comedy series “Rel,” has died while on vacation in Mexico of unknown causes. He was 32. Barnett’s New York City-based comedy career was just taking off at the time of his death, having recently executive produced and co-created Fox TV series “Rel” alongside comedians Lil Rel Howery and Josh [...]

  • Can't We Talk About Something More

    Roz Chast Memoir ‘Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?’ to Be Adapted Into TV Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Famed New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is taking her sardonic wit to a television screen near you. Her best-selling graphic memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is being adapted into a half-hour television series by Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures and Ken Kwapis’ In Cahoots, Variety has learned. Emmy-winning writer Sheila R. Lawrence (“The [...]

  • Jesse Redniss Variety Entertainment & Technology

    WarnerMedia Debuts Content Innovation Lab Fueled by AT&T Tech

    WarnerMedia is launching an incubator meant to “combine emerging technologies with content from across its operating units to create new and innovative consumer experiences and businesses,” the company announced Tuesday. Led by Jesse Redniss, Turner’s executive VP of data strategy and product innovation, the WarnerMedia Innovation Lab is looking to integrate its intellectual property and talent [...]

  • Ilha de Ferro - Dante (

    NATPE: 5 Takes on Brazil’s Globo and Its 2019 Lineup

    MIAMI  — In hallowed tradition, Brazilian TV giant Globo unveiled its NATPE line-up on the first day of the Miami trade fair. With scripted and non-scripted promos playing to a thundering soundtrack Jerry Bruckheimer would have been proud of, this was, as ever for Globo, a polished and powerful presentation. But it also said much [...]

  • Live+7 Ratings for Week of Dec.

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Dec. 31: 'Masked Singer' Premiere Grows by 40 Percent

    The series premiere of “The Masked Singer” continued to pay dividends to Fox in the delayed viewing numbers. In Live+7 for the week of Dec. 31, “The Masked Singer”–which already had the biggest Live+3 gain of any unscripted premiere ever–rose 40% from its Live+Same Day haul in adults 18-49 to a 4.2 rating. In total viewers, [...]

  • Paula Kaplan

    Viacom Digital Studios' Paula Kaplan Expands Role to Oversee Talent for Nickelodeon

    Paula Kaplan, the executive vice president of talent and development at Viacom Digital Studios, is expanding her role to new include overseeing talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan’s new title will be executive vice president of talent and development for Viacom Digital Studios and EVP of talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan will report to both Brian Robbins, president [...]

  • THE MAGICIANS -- Pictured: (l-r) Trevo

    'The Magicians' Renewed for Season 5 at Syfy, Adds New Co-Showrunner

    Syfy has renewed “The Magicians” for a fifth season just ahead of the fourth season premiere. The show has also promoted Henry Alonso Myers to co-showrunner for the fifth season. “‘The Magicians’ raised the bar at Syfy and has gained momentum season after season, attracting a new audience to the channel. We are proud of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content