ONTD Political

Parents complain that the scary disabled lady will give their children nightmares

3:56 am - 02/23/2009
A disabled CBeebies presenter has been the victim of a disturbing campaign after parents complained that she was scaring toddlers.

They claimed that host Cerrie Burnell - who was born with one arm - is not suitable to appear on the digital children's channel.

Miss Burnell and co-presenter Alex Winters took over the popular Do and Discover slot and The Bedtime Hour programme last month.

But the decision to hire her has prompted a flurry of complaints to the BBC and on parenting message boards, with some of the posts on the CBeebies website becoming so vicious that they had to be removed.

Incredibly, one father said he wanted to ban his daughter from watching the channel because he feared it would give her nightmares.

Others claimed that they were forced to discuss difficult issues with their young children before they were ready.

One blogger wrote: 'Is it just me, or does anyone else think the new woman presenter on CBeebies may scare the kids because of her disability?

'I didn't want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter's mind and possibly caused sleep problems. And yes, this is a serious post.'

Some even accused the BBC of hiring Miss Burnell, 29, because of 'political correctness' and solely to meet employment quotas.

One notice board comment read: 'What is scary is the BBC's determination to show " minorities" on CBeebies at every available opportunity!

'This new presenter is c*** - face facts - but because she has a disability then she was given a job. [It is] positive discrimination in my books.'

A BBC spokesman said the broadcaster had received nine formal complaints about Miss Burnell.

But she insisted the new presenter had also received messages of support and that many parents were keen to have a range of people on screen.

Yesterday, Miss Burnell - who has a four-month-old daughter - hit back at her critics, branding them 'small minded' and their remarks 'terrible'.

Admitting she was upset by the comments, she added: 'It can only be a good thing that parents are using me as a chance to talk about disability with their children.

'It just goes to show how important it is to have positive disabled role models on CBeebies and television in general.'


A friend said: 'It's shocking to think that people still have these views and, even worse, that they are passing on this discrimination to their children.' Michael Carrington, controller of CBeebies, said: 'It's a big ask to entertain millions of children every day.

'Cerrie is warm and natural and we think that in time all mums and dads and children will love her as much as we do.'

Originally from Eastbourne, Miss Burnell studied drama in Manchester and won plaudits for her theatre work before landing small roles in EastEnders, The Bill and Grange Hill.

She also works as a teaching assistant at a special needs school in London.

Disability groups have fiercely defended her and the BBC.

John Knight, of charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: 'Disabled people experience disadvantage and discrimination like this every day, largely through ignorance. This needs to change.

'Understanding disability all comes down to familiarity. The bottom line is that seeing disabled people on television should be the norm, not the exception.'

WTF. BTW, here's a picture of the OMFG SCARY LADY:



Source

Mr. Rogers would not approve of this fuckery!
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boyracer1211 23rd-Feb-2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Those kids are going to be sorely disappointed when they grow up and discover that GASP! people aren't always perfect Barbie dolls.
reticent_lass 23rd-Feb-2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
I had a gymnast Barbie that looked like her. She had articulated joints and I got a bit rough with it one too many times. Still wound up being one of my favorites because she was so flexible.
scolaro 23rd-Feb-2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
'Understanding disability all comes down to familiarity. The bottom line is that seeing disabled people on television should be the norm, not the exception.'

THIS! So very much THIS!
mylaptopisevil lets see if the gay marriage argument works here23rd-Feb-2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
Good lord you give people with one arm a job what's next, are we going to employ GOATS?!

(what a stupid complaint people are making about this woman. can't they be adult and wait for some kind of drug charge from 20 years ago, a topless beach photo or something else to surface?)
schonste Re: lets see if the gay marriage argument works here23rd-Feb-2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Awww a goat newscaster. :3 HE WOULD EAT EVERYTHINGS

IT WOULD BE ADORABLES
reticent_lass 23rd-Feb-2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oh no, that kindergarten teacher looks SO VICIOUS. She probably hungers for my still-warm flesh. *rolls eyes* It's a kid's bedroom, not Silent Hill. The Voyage of the Mimi probably ranks up there with the Amityville Horror for these morons. Would the parents rather prefer their kid's first experience with disability be a shouted 'Where'd her arm go, Mommy?" in the middle of the grocery store?
evilgmbethy 23rd-Feb-2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
Would the parents rather prefer their kid's first experience with disability be a shouted 'Where'd her arm go, Mommy?" in the middle of the grocery store?

SERIOUSLY. I think it's probably good that kids see this on television, that way they're less likely make unintentionally hurtful comments to disabled people they meet IRL.
acaciah 23rd-Feb-2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
This denotes an incredible lack of empathy and maturity on the part of the parents. WTF indeed!
*edit for spelling, sorry!*

Edited at 2009-02-23 04:18 pm (UTC)
war4l 23rd-Feb-2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
What scares me is that these are the parents that are raising the future of this world. TERRIFYING.
apocalypsos 23rd-Feb-2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Others claimed that they were forced to discuss difficult issues with their young children before they were ready.

WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD!
evilgmbethy 23rd-Feb-2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
lol seriously
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
cirisse 23rd-Feb-2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
OMFG... maybe we should ban disabled people from walking in the streets incase they scare someones precious little snowflake.

Seriously though - how can we expect children to treat disabled people with respect if we don't.
kangofu 23rd-Feb-2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
how can we expect children to treat disabled people with respect if we don't.

So much WORD.
haruhiko 23rd-Feb-2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Anyone with common sense—or, failing that, an early childhood education course under their belt—knows full well that any kid who has "nightmares" over disabled people only do so because their parents/teachers did a shit job educating them about it.

And bullshit about kids not being ready to have a talk about this. Considering kids less than a year old are fully able to observe and understand differences in humans (e.g. skin color, number of arms) the sooner one has the talk, the better. It's the parents who aren't ready, not the kids.
manatees 23rd-Feb-2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Well, kids under a year old usually can't talk, but I agree with your point.
schonste 23rd-Feb-2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
I don't want my children seeing disabled people, gay people, angry atheists, feminists, learning about where babies come from, the depth of my relationship with my partner, or black people

I don't want to have to explain all those things before they're ready!!
homasse 23rd-Feb-2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
Oh FFS. Just...ARGH, I hate people.
speaker 23rd-Feb-2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to claim it's insensitive/wrong for a child to be freaked out by a disabled person. Someone missing an arm would have probably have freaked me out as a kid, tbh. But I'd much rather have my child freak out by seeing her on tv and then explain things to them myself, and have them understand it. You know, instead of keeping them in the dark until they see a disabled person in real life and can't handle it at all. They're going to find out about this sort of stuff eventually, so long as you know how to deal with it and make your kid accept that everyone is different, you're not going to be giving them nightmares.
evilgmbethy 23rd-Feb-2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but the complaints don't seem to indicate it's the children who have the problems... rather, the parents are the ones freaked out by the thought of, I don't know, having to explain something to their children?
randomneses 23rd-Feb-2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
This is fucking stupid.
evildevil 23rd-Feb-2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Someone, please think of the children.. morons...
dabroots 23rd-Feb-2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
The parents are projecting their own squick reaction onto their children, displaying what they lack, themselves: insight, acceptance, an ability to think outside the box. I'm wondering if there are any credible accounts of children waking in the middle of the night from dreams that the pretty blonde lady with one arm is trying to read a story to them.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
cndchameleon 23rd-Feb-2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Agreed.
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