As accusations of sexual harassment against GOP candidate Donald Trump begin to pile up, another instance of his mocking the disabled has also come to light. Of course, last November, Trump was called out for mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski. The New York Times reporter had disputed Trump’s claim about “thousands of Muslims” celebrating the 9/11 attacks so Trump, being the infant that he is, had to strike back.
According to staffers who worked on The Apprentice, Trump mocked and disparaged competitor Marlee Matlin. The Oscar-winning deaf actress appeared on the show in 2011 and made it to the final two. Country singer John Rich was chosen over her.
Three staffers from the show spoke to The Daily Beast on the promise that they would remain anonymous due to non-disclosure agreements. Despite what viewers saw on the aired video of Trump being gracious towards Matlin, his off-air demeanor towards her was less than complimentary. The staffers say that he would mock and insult her, sometimes by mimicking her signing or voice.
According to one employee, Trump conflated Matlin’s deafness with her having a mental disability, a problem many deaf people run into. Trump would often write notes while seated at the “boardroom” table, and this worker, having to clean up after taping, saw the notes Trump wrote. On one of them, he had written, “Marlee, is she retarded?”
Another staffer was quoted as telling The Daily Beast:
“In the boardroom, he would talk to her like she was ‘special.’ He took her deafness as a some kind of [mental] handicap. She responded [to him], she stood up for herself.”
This exchange was, of course, edited out of the show. According to Apprentice producer Mark Burnett, we aren’t likely to see any extraneous footage cut from any season of the show. More’s the pity. I’m sure that, if we could see them, some clips would sink the Trump candidacy once and for all.
A third staff person said that Trump would mock Matlin’s voice, adding that Trump would “take the low road and mock her disability.” There is just no excuse for such behavior. Deafness is not a mental handicap and should never be mistaken for one just because the voice of a deaf person may sound odd. Yours would, too, if you couldn’t hear yourself speak.
Trump has already been accused of making sexual comments aimed at Matlin and other Apprentice competitors. The revelation that he made fun of Marlee Matlin simply because she is deaf should end him and, in any other situation, it would. But his
minions supporters don’t give a damn.
Having taken the first half of an American Sign Language interpreter course (the second half was too far away at the time) and worked with the deaf and the deaf/blind, I find these revelations to be appalling. Donald Trump acts like a child when it comes to the disabled, mocking them because they are different. How could he claim to want to represent all Americans when he treats so many so horribly?
I’d say that Trump ought to be ashamed of himself but we all know by now that “shame” is not in his vocabulary. At least, not applied to himself. I am seriously wearing my thesaurus out trying to find enough adjectives to describe his vile behavior. This time, I will let ASL do it for me.
Here is a contemporaneous video report from the NY Post on Matlin and John Rich, the man who won that season:
UPDATE: Matlin responded to Trump on Twitter.
My response to recent media reports – Marlee. pic.twitter.com/Mkrbh47dUO
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) October 14, 2016
Featured image via screen capture