'Cripple' case postponed

Delay for comedy promoter's trial

Legal action against a comedy promoter arrested after using the word ‘crippled’ to promote a comedian with muscular dystrophy has been postponed.

Forest Thomer was charged with disorderly conduct after asking people if they wanted to ‘laugh at crippled girl’ – the very same slogan comic Ally Bruener uses herself.

The case was to be heard in a Cincinnati court yesterday, but after a brief appearance, proceedings were put off until July 17 to allow Thomer’s lawyer to familiarise herself fully with the case,

Thomer was arrested after approaching potential punters at a free festival in a park and asking them the provocative question. After getting a reaction Bruener would appear, tell them a gag and plug the show, filming their reaction for YouTube

However, police charged Thomer with using ‘grossly abusive language’ – and he now faces up to 30 days in jail if convicted.

Bruener was not arrested.

‘It’s a stupid thing to get arrested for,’ Thomer said. ‘The issue isn’t stupid, but the whole reason we got into trouble shouldn’t have happened.’

Bruener tweeted yesterday: ‘For those of you wondering, the case got a continuance to mid-July. Until then, keep up the crippledness everyone!’

Previously, she wrote on her blog: ‘This [case] begs the question: Who was the language abusive towards? The crippled girl using the word in reference to herself? The people that laughing at the crippled girl’s jokes?

‘I will not let this issue rest. I will not sit back and allow anyone trample over my right to show and tell the world that I am proud to be crippled!

‘People are trying to be too politically correct and force us to be as well,’ she said. ‘Words don’t come with a stigma until they are reacted to negatively’

‘Is society really that frightened of my self respect that they must dictate how I express it? Would it be better if I paraded around spouting the warm and fuzzy euphemistic terms that make it easier for everyone else to feel like they’re being accepting? For anyone that answered “yes” to the second question, all I can say that I appreciate your ignorance.’

Neither police nor prosecutors have commented on the case

Here is the video they shot at the Cincinnati park:

Published: 21 Jun 2012

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