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Fox News Apologizes After Mocking Boy on Autism Spectrum

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Last Tuesday, May 9, during an event with military families in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Vice President Mike Pence accidentally swiped a young boy across the face with his arm. According to videos of the event, after the incident, the young boy – later identified as 10-year-old Michael Yee – followed the Vice President around saying, “You owe me an apology.” Pence, finally noticing the boy, apologized directly to him, stating, “I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to bop you.”

The following day, Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” aired a segment about the boy, asking, “Is our youth fragile?” Bill Hemmer, the host that night, asked radio host Tammy Bruce for her take on the situation.

“I guess we’re giving birth to snowflakes now because that looked like that kid needed a safe space in that room,” Bruce replied. Hemmer later added that the boy’s behavior was probably learned.

Following Fox’s segment, the 10-year-old’s mother, Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee, went on CNN‘s “The Lead With Jake Tapper” to speak about the way her son, who is on the autism spectrum, was characterized.

“For those who don’t have a child with autism, they need to really rehearse and a lot of their therapy involves practicing social interactions,” Herrera-Yee told Tapper. “For him, it was about manners… It was not meant in any sort of negative way. It’s just him learning the social interaction with someone else.”

After sharing the effect Bruce, Hemmer and internet commenters have had on her family, Herrera-Yee told Tapper she wants people to be more aware of autism and “how our kids interact with the world.” She also asked Fox to apologize:

Just like Michael asked the Vice President, so sweetly, for an apology, I’d want to ask, on his behalf, for Fox News to apologize for having used my son out of context and using those really horrible words to describe him and our family. That’s really what I would want to come out of this – is just more awareness.

And please don’t use kids, whether they’re typically developing kids, doesn’t matter that he’s autistic or he’s a military kid. Forget all that, he’s a kid, and you don’t use kids on as examples on national television like that.

Bruce apologized Tuesday morning on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom.”

“My intention was never to hurt a kid or his mom,” Bruce said.”We had absolutely no idea that Michael was on the autism spectrum.”

Originally published: May 16, 2017
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