Gisele Baretto Fetterman demanded an apology for MSNBC’s “ableist” comments toward husband and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman, the Independent reported on Monday.
In an exclusive interview with the outlet Gisele accused MSNBC reporter Dasha Burns — who noted the Democratic candidate required the assistance of closed captioning (CC) software to participate — of being ableist. The Senate hopeful suffered a stroke two days before the Pennsylvania primary election in May.
“If this happened in a school, if this was a child that was ableist towards another child or a teacher, there would’ve been issues stated,” said Fetterman of her husband’s critics following the MSNBC interview. “There would have been new training done. What is being done at the media after a reporter came out so openly ableist towards a person? I think shocked and appalled, but sadly not surprised. I know there’s still so much to do, but it would be great to see some accountability, to actually see real change.”
“And I would love to see an apology towards the disability community from her and from her network for the damage they have caused,” she continued.
Exclusive: Gisele Fetterman calls for NBC to apologise following ‘shocking’ interview with husband John Fettermanhttps://t.co/u6VIr90zj7
— The Independent (@Independent) October 17, 2022
“We have received so many messages from folks who said, ‘This is exactly why I’m afraid to seek accommodations. This is exactly why I’m afraid to pursue a different position because of exactly what your husband has gone through,'” Gisele said. “So I think he’s shown what he’s experienced, but a lot of people saw themselves in him.”
Fetterman, who had been criticized as dodging offers to debate, recently agreed to debate Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz on Oct. 25 under an agreement that the practice debate must not include real debate questions, the debate must be lengthened to 90 minutes instead of an hour, and the moderator is required to explain to the audience that Fetterman will use CC software, per Politico.
“It’s to even the playing field. It’s to bring more people into these spaces,” Gisele continued noting her husband’s use of CC. “And the fact that certain journalists have behaved like this around closed captioning just shows how devoid of disabled people so many spaces are.”
“Literally cannot believe how ableist the commentary is about candidates for office,” said one Twitter user of the interview with Fetterman. “‘Omg he has to read words on a screen to double check himself. How dare he!’ Just the worst cultural baggage at play here.”
“Truly appalling. Have these ‘journalists’ never heard of the ADA? Close to 15% of the US population identify as hard of hearing and may need accommodations,” Gisele Fetterman replied. “Really curious to learn how they feel about wheelchairs and glasses …”
Truly appalling. Have these “journalists” never heard of the ADA? Close to 15% of the US population identify as hard of hearing and may need accommodations. Really curious to learn how they feel about wheelchairs and glasses …
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) October 12, 2022
Oz and Fetterman will face off this November to fill Senator Pat Toomey’s seat after the Republican incumbent previously announced he would not seek reelection this year.