Channel 4 back Rosie Jones after backlash over documentary title

Virgin Radio

4 Jul 2023, 09:02

Rosie Jones

Credit: Getty / Channel 4

Channel 4 have responded to concerns surrounding comedian Rosie Jones’ new documentary, titled Am I A R*tard?

The hard-hitting documentary will explore the ableism and abuse disabled people face, with Rosie drawing on her own experiences. The official synopsis reads: “In this unflinchingly personal film, Rosie, who has cerebral palsy, sets out to try to understand how prevalent disability trolling is in the UK, and why it's often left completely unchecked.”

The use of the ableist slur in the title has caused backlash from campaign groups, with some contributors calling out the use of the word and withdrawing from the project. 

Shelby Lynch, Kate Stanforth and Lucy Dawson have taken back their consent to use their material within the upcoming feature. 

Ballerina Stanforth confirmed the movie on Instagram, writing: “There have been a number of issues raised throughout the process, which led to myself and all of my friends to withdraw consent to use our material. This includes a lengthy discussion on why we think the title will be damaging to the disabled community and major pressure to change this.

“Regardless, I still hope the documentary highlights the abuse disabled people get on a daily basis and thank the disabled community who were involved in this for all rallying together on this one for putting as much pressure on the team as possible so we could try get the correct result, even if that meant scrapping our hard work. We got you.”

Now, Channel 4 have come out in support of Rosie’s choice to use the slur in the documentary title, with a spokesperson saying: “This film is an authored documentary by Rosie Jones to raise awareness and educate viewers about the issue of ableism and the scale of abuse she and other disabled people face daily.

“The use of the R-word in the documentary is within context of the subject matter being explored and specific to the abuse Rosie receives on social media. The film makes very clear it is an unacceptable and offensive ableist term and its inclusion was carefully considered in conversations with the editorial team, Rosie and a disability consultant.”

Discussing why she decided to use the slur, Rosie posted to her own social media channels and told fans: “The title of the film has a very shocking word in it. The R word. I get it, a lot of people will find this word very shocking and upsetting, but in my opinion society doesn’t take this word and other ableist forms of language as seriously as any form of abuse from any other minorities."

Rosie continues: "So I said to channel 4 “let's do it, let's tackle the problem head on and use that word in the title.”

A release date for Rosie Jones: Am I A R*tard? has yet to be confirmed.