John Shaffner, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, has pledged that the Emmy-nominated song “Down Syndrome Girl” will not be aired on the primetime Emmy telecast or the broadcast of the Emmy’s Creative Arts awards.
Shaffner’s promise came in response to a letter of protest from the NDSC’s Self Advocate Council, which characterized the musical number as “hateful” and said its recognition by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences carried the unjust message that “those of us who have Down syndrome are less valuable than others and deserve ridicule and abuse because of our disability.”
Shaffner thanked the group for sharing its concerns about the song. “The Television Academy is always sensitive to these types of issues and had already planned not to air this song,” Shaffner wrote.
The musical number, which appeared this spring on Fox Television’s “Family Guy,” describes a character with Down syndrome as a “little whore” who is “poorly grooming,” “as-of-Monday-shoelace-tying,” “just a little crooked walking” and “a special person’s wettest dream.” The lyrics also include a reference to the “shorty bus.”
It was nominated in the category “Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics” but lost out to Randy Newman’s music and lyrics for “When I’m Gone” from the finale of USA Network’s “Monk.”