Donald Trump allegedly used the r-word during the 2011 season of his reality TV show, "Celebrity Apprentice."
The then-host of the reality show referred to contestant Marlee Matlin — an award-winning deaf actress who starred on the show — as "retarded" and routinely mocked her intelligence, series staffers told The Daily Beast.
Actress Marlee Matlin. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Turner.
According to the staffers, Trump once scribbled, “Marlee, is she retarded?” on a note other employees saw. He ridiculed her voice, similarly to how he belittled a New York Times reporter with a physical disability. And he regularly talked down to her in meetings, as if her deafness somehow made her mentally inept.
"[It] sounded like he got a real kick out of it," one staffer noted. "It was really upsetting.”
On Oct. 14, 2016, Matlin responded to the report on Twitter:
My response to recent media reports - Marlee. https://t.co/Mkrbh47dUO— Marlee Matlin (@Marlee Matlin)1476469819.0
Who knows what was going through Trump's head when he decided to use that word. Knowing Trump, he'd probably deny that this exchange ever happened. But, assuming 1) that it probably did, and 2) that we give him the benefit of the doubt, let's proceed as though he just didn't know that that's not an OK word to use.
So, for next time, Donald, here’s a helpful chart to utilize when you're not so sure, courtesy of the fine folks at the Military Special Needs Network:
Courtesy of the Military Special Needs Network.
As the chart sums up nicely, you should definitely use a different word ... pretty much always.
To be sure, some medical terminology and diagnoses have used the term in the past, but since then, the word has become increasingly less appropriate. You might also hear a baker toss around the word now and then as a verb when referring to bread (though the more popular term is "proofing"), but as far as in everyday speak, no — no one should ever use that word.
Hearing that Donald Trump, who made headlines early in his presidential campaign for mocking a disabled reporter, used the r-word on the set of "Celebrity Apprentice" isn't necessarily shocking, but it's not an example that such a public person should be setting.
As deaf model Nyle tweeted on Oct. 9, 2016:
I'm just so glad I can't hear Trump. #DeafGain— Nyle DiMarco (@Nyle DiMarco)1476064804.0
Also, while we're on the subject, Mr. Trump, please consider using different words when referring to Mexicans, women, and black people too.
Please and thanks!