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Comedian Rosie Jones tears up as she defends her new show title Am I a R*tard

Comedian Rosie Jones tears up as she defends her new show title Am I a R*tard

The comedian explores the prevalence of disability trolling in her new documentary

The usually bubbly and upbeat comedian Rosie Jones appeared to tear up this week as she defended the controversial name of her new show, Am I A R*tard?

Jones, who has cerebral palsy, is set to release her personal documentary on Channel 4 later this month, when viewers will be able to follow the 33-year-old as she sets out to understand how prevalent disability trolling is in the UK.

The comedian sets herself the challenge of confronting a troll in the show, but before it's even arrived on our screens the documentary has sparked backlash over the derogatory term used in its title.

Rosie Jones explores disability trolling in the Channel 4 documentary.

One unimpressed Twitter user wrote: "Regarding Rosie Jones's documentary: NO. F*ck no. You do not reclaim such a word. You are not doing us a favor. SHAME ON YOU."

Jones shared her response to the backlash during an appearance on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour this week, where she spoke with host Nuala McGovern about how she'd experienced the word being used 'as a weapon' against her.

"I have had cerebral palsy for 33 years and that means going through school, walking down the road and now having a public platform on social media, I get to experience that word used at me as a weapon nearly every day," she said.

"Somewhere I will hear it. And you saw me come in today with headphones because I do not walk down the street without wearing headphones to protect myself from hearing that word or ableist slurs."

Rosie Jones appeared to tear up as she defended the documentary.

So when her documentary came about, Jones decided to try and use the term with the hope of sparking a positive outcome.

"So I know it's controversial but I needed to use that specific word in the title of the documentary to start the conversation around slurs and ableism," she said. "It is my opinion that it is not taken as seriously as other slurs."

However, she admitted that the backlash against the decision has been tough, especially as a number of the contributors who were set to appear in the documentary decided to withdraw over the title.

"It's not been my easiest few weeks because having criticism that comes from within your own community hits harder," the comedian said.

Rosie Jones has cerebral palsy.

Having read all the criticism, Jones pointed out: "I have said it all along in this film and in my comedy, that I can only speak for myself.

"I can only tell the story of what it's like to be a woman with cerebral palsy. And unfortunately, that means that that R word is used against me a a lot of the time.

"And I don't think the abuser's care if it's a word associated with me or me with people with intellectual disabilities. It isn't my word, no. But also, it isn't their word. And it's no one's word. But the truth of the matter is it's a word that is still heard, used casually in schools, in pubs, in the street.

"I think by using it in the title, I am in no way encouraging people to use it, and in the same breath, I am in no way trying to reclaim it.

"I’m highlighting it as a word that’s still used casually and it needs to stop."

In response to the criticism, a spokesperson for Channel 4 said the use of the word comes 'within context of the subject matter being explored and specific to the abuse Rosie receives on social media'.

"The film makes very clear it is an unacceptable and offensive ableist term and its inclusion was carefully considered in conversations with the editorial team, Rosie and a disability consultant," they continued.

"We have removed the contributors from the documentary at their request and fully respect their decision to withdraw."

If you've been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Scope via their website, via email, or on 0808 800 3333. The line is open 9am-6pm Monday to Fridays, and 10am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: UK News, Celebrity