Cancel Humanitarian Award for Jerry Lewis

  • Author:
    n/a
  • Send To:
    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Sponsored By:
    The Trouble with Jerry
  • More Info at:
This petition has been launched to object to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' announcement that it will give Jerry Lewis its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscar Awards ceremony on February 22, 2009.

During his decades of hosting the Labor Day Telethon, Jerry Lewis has helped to perpetuate negative, stereotypical attitudes toward people with muscular dystrophy and other disabilities. Jerry Lewis and the Telethon actively promote pity as a fundraising strategy. Disabled people want RESPECT and RIGHTS, not pity and charity.

In 1990, Lewis wrote that if he had muscular dystrophy and had to use a wheelchair, he would "just have to learn to try to be good at being a half a person." During the 1992 Telethon, he said that people with MD, whom he always insists on calling "my kids," "cannot go into the workplace. There's nothing they can do." Comments like these have led disability activists and our allies to protest against Jerry Lewis. We've argued that he uses the Telethon to promote pity, a counterproductive emotion which undermines our social equality. Here's how Lewis responded to the Telethon protesters during a 2001 television interview: "Pity? You don't want to be pitied because you're a cripple in a wheelchair? Stay in your house!"

Jerry Lewis has also made derogatory comments about women and gay men. His outdated attitudes and crude remarks are dehumanizing, not humanitarian.

Therefore, we the undersigned support the actions and arguments of the coalition group The Trouble with Jerry. We protest the Academy's characterization of Jerry Lewis as a "humanitarian." And we ask that the Academy cancel its plans to give Lewis the Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

2900 Signatures

  • Caithlin M
    • City/State
    • Washington, DC
  • Morton Ann Gernsbacher, P
  • Margaret T
    • City/State
    • Denver, CO
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • University of Denver
    • Comments
    • Please reconsider this award. While Jerry Lewis has certainly raised alot of $$ for MD, his attitudes about disabilities and persons with disabilities are condescending, insulting, and dehumanizing.
  • Katharine R
  • Nick O
    • City/State
    • San Francisco
  • Ellen Claire N
    • City/State
    • Ballyconneely, Co. Galway, Ireland
  • Margaret P
    • City/State
    • Atlanta, Georgia
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • Spelman College
  • Joan M
    • City/State
    • Roswell/GA
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • TASH,COPAA
    • Comments
    • There are too many people who believe what Jerry Lewis says about "his kids." The only true part of what he says is that money needs to be raised and devoted to helping children with MD. In helping children and adults with MD the focus should be on talents and strengths, which each person with MD has. Jerry Lewis isn't a spokesman for people who want to (and have a right to) be fully included in their communities as active participants. That's where the focus should be: basic human dignity and the equal chance for opportunities.
  • Robert A
    • City/State
    • Reston, Virginia
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • Adult with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Comments
    • Sad that Mr. Lewis should be honored for spending his life dehumanizing disabled folks rather than enabling them to self advocate.
  • Dave S
    • City/State
    • Peterborough, NH
  • Kathleen M
  • Qilo M
    • City/State
    • Oakland, CA
  • Hali D. H
    • City/State
    • Berkeley, CA
  • Catherine H T
  • Mansha M
    • City/State
    • Chicago, IL
    • Comments
    • Jerry Lewis has demonstrated absolutely no potential for growth in his thinking and his openness to alternate perspectives. Since intellectual and spiritual growth is a defining characteristic of the human race, if anybody is half a human being it's Jerry Lewis!
  • Toby L
  • Melinda E
    • City/State
    • Orlando, FL
  • Dustin Scott N
    • City/State
    • Ames, IA
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • Iowa State University
    • Comments
    • В
  • Elke Beatriz R
  • Dr. Joy E W
    • City/State
    • Raleigh, NC
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • Ron Mace Center
    • Comments
    • The utter disdain the Jerry Lewis expressed towards disabled people, who refuse to be chracterized as Jerry Lewis views us, reveals that Mr. Lewis is, in fact, a bigot who uses disabled people for his own aggrandizement..
  • Blake B
    • City/State
    • Tacoma, WA
  • Carla B
    • City/State
    • Albuquerque, NM
  • leatrice v b
    • City/State
    • tampa, fl
    • Comments
    • My nephew has Autism.
  • T. O
    • City/State
    • NM
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • В
    • Comments
    • In memory of Harriet McBryde Johnson, a resounding NO to this.
  • michelle t
  • Susan S
  • Michael D
    • City/State
    • San Diego, CA
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • University of California, San Diego
  • Ann N
    • City/State
    • south pasadena,ca
  • David S
    • City/State
    • California
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • University of California, San Diego
    • Comments
    • Stop the exploitation of the disabled!
  • Ed S
  • Dr. Deborah L. L
    • City/State
    • S. Setauket, NY
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • Adelphi University
    • Comments
    • Jerry Lewis has consistently failed to recognize that disabled people need rights, access, dignity, not pity and charity. His work is anti-humanitarian as it disregards the true humanity of people with disabilities, who are, after all, you and me.
  • Laura H
    • City/State
    • Lansing, MI
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • В
    • Comments
    • What Jerry Lewis has done over the years is not "humanitarian". There are so many others far more deserving
  • Moya B
    • City/State
    • В
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • В
    • Comments
    • В
  • Stephanie B
    • City/State
    • Spring TX
  • Gregg B
    • City/State
    • Philadelphia, PA.
    • Comments
    • If the academy proceeds with this award they will be lending credibility and honor, to the bigotry, prejudice and ignorance that Mr. lewis, his views and his telethon represent.
  • Kathy H
    • City/State
    • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Rebecca G
    • City/State
    • В
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • В
    • Comments
    • В
  • Katherine A
    • City/State
    • Granite Bay, California
  • BA H
    • City/State
    • Towson, MD
  • Karen P
  • lisa t
    • City/State
    • White Plains, NY
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • Westchester Disability Advocacy Partnership
    • Comments
    • It is disconcerting for myself and others to know that Mr. Lewis continues to express in public statements and published articles, his preception equating life in a wheelchair as a "steel imprisonment" that would render him "trapped" and "suffocated"; that if he were so confined, he would view himself as "half-a-person," a "cripple." Curious that such a "trapped and suffocated" population, those living "half a life," have sustained years of struggle to overcome the stigma of pity, dependence and discrimination, which paved the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act and the establishment of an empowered disability community.
  • Kara Michelle H
  • Erica S
    • Organizational Affiliation
    • EEK Fitness, Inc.
  • Carroll T
    • City/State
    • Maryland
  • e. m
    • City/State
    • new york
    • Comments
    • give this serious thought...the world of disabilities have come a far way from the "feeling sorry for" mantra...it is time to move on and out as far jerry lewis a self serving mealy mouthed personna
  • Candi T
    • City/State
    • Kentwood
  • Erhard M
  • Gordon C
  • Kayris C
  • Lene T