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Ann Coulter Not Sorry For Using ‘R-Word’


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Conservative commentator Ann Coulter is standing by her repeated use of the word “retard,” insisting that she’s done no wrong and will continue to use the term.

In an appearance late Friday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Coulter defended her language choice and said that it’s unreasonable for certain words to be off-limits. Since she was talking about President Barack Obama — who has no disability — calling him a “retard” is no different than using words like “idiot” or “moron,” she said.

“I was not referring to someone with Down syndrome. I was referring to the president of the United States,” said Coulter, adding that she views “retard” as a synonym for loser. “Do you call people with mental disabilities retards because I don’t. I think that’s a nasty thing to do.”

Coulter came under fire last week from numerous disability advocates and organizations for using the word “retard” in several comments posted on Twitter.

When asked by CNN host Piers Morgan if she would continue using the term, Coulter said, “yeah, I’ve done it since that tweet.”

Self-advocate John Franklin Stephens, who has Down syndrome, wrote an open letter to Coulter explaining that using the word “retard” is demeaning to people like him.

“The word retarded is offensive and I should not be a symbol for someone who is dumb and shallow,” Stephens told Morgan.

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Comments (45 Responses)

  1. KA101 says:

    And the problem with the words Ms. Coulter offers as comparable here is that they take derogatory meaning from their connection to people scoring low on IQ tests, who are commonly perceived as dumb* and/or shallow.

    If all Ms. Coulter wants to do is call Mr. Obama a loser, well…she certainly has the capacity to do so. The fact that she didn’t tweet “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the loser”, etc., makes her defense here less-than-optimal.

    *Which is itself problematic, as it’s the technical term for someone who doesn’t speak, and now a common derogatory. Humans love finding ways to put others down, don’t they?

  2. Laurie says:

    She can not plead ignorance that the word is offensive as she has been told by people with disabilities, their loved ones and Special Olympics that it is. Does she think SHE knows better than they do? Where does she think this word comes from? Some states and school districts still label individuals with cognitive disabilities as retarded or have done so until very recently. She has said the “word” means “loser” to her. How does she think this makes those that have had this label applied to them feel? She is mean-spirited and I personally will not watch any show that she is on in the future as I have no interest in her opinion about anything.

  3. Shari says:

    Disgusting, Ann. The appropriate response would have been to say “I was a fool and I apologize.” There are many, many words I could use to describe you, but I am too much of a lady to post them. Suffice to say, you are arrogant and ignorant, and that is treacherous combination.

  4. Debra Donatto says:

    Obviously, Ms. Coulter does not believe her audience can understand other vocabulary. She was quoted saying, “Screw them!” and refuses to apologize to the “word police” inferring that the parents and protectors of children with disabilities are at fault here. What an ego!

  5. Tom says:

    She persists in her ignorance of the offensive character if this word. At some point shunning us the only viable response no matter her half-baked claims of word libertarianism.

  6. Gayle Pearson says:

    Seriously people, this woman should be put away forever and never, never be allowed to speak in public again!

  7. Sharron Henry says:

    Shame on you. She is no better than anyone else

  8. Cathy says:

    When used as a noun, the definition of retard is “to slow, delay the development or progress,” and as a verb its definition is “to be delayed.” The World Dictionary also provides the “slang” use of the word and clearly defines that use as “disparaging” and “offensive.” If the words of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and the Special Olympics haven’t dissuaded this woman from finding other words to express her negative views of our President, maybe she’ll be persuaded to do so by seeing that her use of the word is incorrect by definition. I doubt this will have any impact on this arrogant, ignorant woman. It is clear that only her opinions and feelings matter. I don’t believe Mr. Romney would approve of one of his supporters being so disrespectful to such a large and vulnerable sector of American society.

  9. Pam says:

    Whether she thinks it is wrong to use that word or not is irrelevant. The fact is that people find it offensive and have asked her to stop. That would be enough for any responsible human being. Oh wait…I forgot wwho we were talking about.

  10. JCP says:

    I don’t see her calling President Obama the N-word…because it’s inflammatory, hurtful, and just plain WRONG. For the same reasons, the R-word is just plain WRONG. If you mean “loser” then use the word “loser.” She CHOSE the R-word because she knows it packs an emotional punch. Despicable!

  11. Jerome Holzbauer says:

    Bottom line is the term “retard” (the R word) is as offensive to people with intellectual disabilities as the N word is offensive to African Americans. Why does someone like Piers Morgan at CNN allow Ann Coulter to get away with this. He certainly would not have let Coulter get away with using the N word during his show in relation to Obama or anyone else for that matter.

    By the way, retard and loser are not synomous. Coutler needs to consult her dictionary more often.

  12. sharla harris says:

    As an educator, and advocate for students with disabilities I find her remarks extremely offensive. I will NOT watch any news program she is on. I did not allow my own typical children to use that word when they were growing up in my house and would expect someone in her public position to know better. With adults like her setting such horrible examples for the American public it’s a wonder any one turns on the news. Would she like to hear the word “spic” or “nigger”? I don’t think so. All name calling and slang should be stopped. It does nothing but hurt.

  13. Linda Miller says:

    Ann Coulter is offensive and people should change the channel when they see her on TV.

  14. Ann Greer says:

    When Ann Coulter uses the ‘R’ word and defends it be explaining that – for her – it is the same as saying ‘moron’ or ‘loser’, she exposes a deeply unconscious framework for her world where people are labelled ‘winners’ or ‘losers’. The way that she categorises people generally is even more disturbing than her use and defence of the ‘R’ word.

  15. George Buzzetti says:

    Ann Coulter is a bought and sold idiot. She will do anything for a dollar and to push right wing ideology no matter the cost or the truth of what she says. It is just that simple. You must remember that she is able to get away with this and the other crazies on the other side like Rush because the so called democrats messaging is so weak. I do not think this is an accident. Think about it, why is it that dems and rats agree on education policy which is corporatist and privatizer. Obama is with them pushing the failed policies he helped to insert into the Chicago Public School system. He helped start privatization and corporatization there and still pushes it with Arne Duncan even though it is a failed system. Ask Why????

  16. Jon K. Evans says:

    Calling someone a “Retard” is like referring to someone of Japanese extraction by that more vile “J” Word or the other “N” word. That was appropriate-maybe-for McHale’s Navy. However, it has no place now, and Ms. Coulter needs to learn this!

  17. Kimberly H. says:

    I understand her thought, but her choice of wording was wrong. And for her then, after many have explained to her WHY it was wrong, ignore the concerns and continue to use that word, that’s wrong as well. Both sides of the political fence, as well as other people in the public eye/media have used this word. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with disrespect for the disabled community. When you stoop to that level, you automatically lose the arguement because it just makes you look mean and petty. No one pays attention to the point that you were trying to make.

  18. Lyelle Palmer, Ph.D. says:

    She might feel differently if she was termed a “political hack.”
    The R word is no longer used because is commonly used as
    name-calling in harassment.

  19. Cheryl Malloy says:

    Really!!! We can refer to the president in this manner in public. Let our children try it in school and see how far their freedom of speech keeps them out of detention and parents held accountable. I certainly hope you are a better role model for your children in private. I know the channel will change before my children are exposed to it. My opinion is you lack class and integrity. All of the people I work with any diagnosis have unprecedented “CLASS”.

  20. Mary Fletcher Jones says:

    I blame the media for giving her a platform. She would be just another Internet troll — but people like Piers Morgan know that a monstruously outrageous woman and her hatefulness are good for ratings. They give her power and exposure.

  21. brownie says:

    Face it, Ms. Coulter, you are an attention whore! You know the word’s intent and meaning, implied by your tweet about taking it easy on the ….Of all the things you could have said with your education and intellect, that’s what you lean on. You are a pathetic excuse for a human. The very fact that Romney and the Republicans haven’t distanced themselves from you has lost them my vote.

  22. Sandi Johnson says:

    Absolutely sickens me beyond belief. THIS is a HUGE reason we are in the state that we are in. Sure hope she doesn’t come to regret these words someday.

  23. 4-DEEDS-UNDONE says: has many online petitions regarding Ann Coulter. I would strongly urge as many people as possible to go there and make their voices heard. No one is challenging the first amendment but she needs to be bumped down to a smaller stage with a smaller audience. She has a long history of hateful tirades directed at 9/11 widows, single mothers, the gay community, any religion but hers, and of course individuals with disabilities and the people who love and support them. I know there are more but you get the point. Enough is enough!

  24. Nancy Wojno says:

    Ann Coulter should rethink her usage of the word retarded. Intelligent people do NOT demean nor do they demoralize. This person should be fired for her inconsideration and rational comments. Intellectually disabled people have feeling too and she should not be allowed nor tolerated to just simple flap her lips.

  25. Jack Daly says:

    It’s interesting how some folks can ‘justify’ themselves. How about the ‘N’-word, Ms. Coulter? Or any of the other available epithets you might decide to spew?
    Of course, i hold no expectations that you will sudeenly develop a sensitivity you so evidently lack. Check your family tree, Ms. Coulter…there’s usually not too many degrees of separation between yourself and someone with disabilities… developmental or otherwise. Perhaps you owe someone closer than President Obama an apology?

  26. Marcella Glennon says:

    I am not sure how Ann Coulter can justify using the “R” word by using exactly the way people with disabilities and their advocates say is wrong and offensive. Retard or Retarded was never meant to be an insult or a curse word but just like we made the middle finger offensive we also made the word retarded offensive. We as humans messed up and need to be responsible when using our freedom of speech. Freedom equals Responsibility and it is not the best idea to call anyone names anyway. You would think that someone opposed to Obama and choosing to share in a public forum would be able to come up with something more intelligent than calling him a name. Just saying!

  27. Glen S says:

    Interesting that one of the poster is criticizing Ms. Coulter and society for loving to find ways to put others down. Especially since the poster loves to do the same thing by using acronyms such as “NT’s” and identity language such as “spectromites.”

    Let’s be clear! Ms. Coulter is wrong! She uses language to get which gets the most shock value and press. But why is this community and the press singling her out? I don’t recall this community or the press calling “shock value” comedians on the carpet when they insulted previous president’s with offensive language. Again, I point to Bill Mayer, and his continuing offensive insults on Christians and others with whom he disagrees. Or how about Michael Moore?

    If we are going to get offended, then we need to be offended by ALL offensive language!

  28. r says:

    “Go from the presense of the foolish man when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge”.

  29. Still Weird says:

    How long would people tolerate Ms. Coulter using the “n-word”? It is the same thing, just a different group of people. We need to join together NOW to stop this.

  30. Sandra Carroll says:

    Ms. Coulter needs to grow up! Name calling is child’s play anyway. But to bring a diagnosis out at a synonym for loser?!?!?! That is lower than low! Children have more respect for the special needs community than she does!

  31. Dr. Fred Wetzel says:

    Ms. Coulter uses words for a shock effect, so she can get publicity among the type of people who are her audience.
    The most effective method to combat her, is to boycott her books, public appearances and colleges and other institutions who would give her a speaking venue.

  32. David Snow says:

    Anyone who has watched Ann Coulter for ten minutes can see that she has cognitive issues and should forgive her ignorance.

  33. Minsy says:

    As a parent of a wonderful, smart, daughter who is the closest their is to an angel on earth who also happens to have Down Syndrome I’d like to suggest that this woman try using/educating herself on some new r words – remorse, respect, regret, represent, and I could go on and on but I really believe it wouldn’t matter – she’s gonna say anything to get her name in the news no matter how disrespectful she is in the process – or how many parents/people with disabilities she hurts in the process – I don’t even think attending a special Olympics event would open her eyes – she KNOWS she is wrong but would never admit it. No hope for her – unless maybe she wakes up from her wicked ways one of these days.

  34. Mike says:

    Though Ann Coulter may not have a learning disability in the true sense of the term, she certainly does not seem to be able to learn from her mistakes. Unfortunately she is given far too much media attention for her outbursts-which is likely at the root of all this-her need for attention. Perhaps she needs people in her life that would give her attention for appropriate behavior.

  35. Mendy Hecht says:

    I hear Mr. Stephens loud and clear, but let’s remember that historically, every word banned from usage as clinical and official refererence to the mentally disabled has become an insult, including “idiot” and now, “retard.”

    The problem is that now, the new politically-correct phrase “intellectually disabled” will become an insult too–and what are we going to do then? Change it to a new phrase? We’ve got to stop running from phrase to phrase.

  36. Kat Lyons says:

    All I can say is “Consider the source.” Ann Coulter is a b—-ch! Calling her that demeans female dogs everywhere.

  37. Marcia says:

    Unfortunately Ann Coulter has once again (and far too commonly) demonstrated her insensitivity to not only issues at hand but is all too commonly representative of people who do not think before they speak. She lacks the kind of grace that is so sorely needed in our country. What lows she continues to sink to. Have you no pride Ann? Your remarks are getting so crass and disrespectful. Are you completely ignorant of the wisdom and ancient old admonition to “Do unto others and you would have done to yourself”? You are on a fast declining slippery slope! Be careful. Your reputation may be past redemption.

  38. Julia Anderson says:

    The best way we can shut down a person like Ann Coulter is to NOT pay attention to her, buy her books, listen to shows she is on, or read her opinion columns. Clearly she needs a lot of public attention. Let’s boycott her and NOT pay attention!
    Ms. Coulter’s use of the “R” word was her attempt to call someone a name – like a bully on a playground in grade school. Presumably she was trying to gain publicity for herself and “stir up the pot” as she has made a career of doing.
    Ms. Coulter is a trained lawyer – she knows full well what the impact of specific words are.
    As if her response to the outrage that ensued made any rational sense. She should just say “loser” if that’s what she meant. Clearly she was trying to evoke a response using the “R” word. No one uses the “N” word, because most people understand it is a term that originated to invoke a less than, subservient feeling to describe certain types of people. That is the same feeling that the “R” word invokes.
    Ms. Coulter goes on to say “aggressive victims”. To take those words literally, she indicates people that the “R” word applies to are victims – yes – victims of people such as her who use offensive language. And “ aggressive” — you bet, lady. If you know someone with a disability of any kind – we all should be “aggressive” to respond to such derogatory terms as Ms. Coulter uses.
    As full disclosure, I am the parent of a fifteen year old daughter who is multiply disabled. My daughter cannot speak, walk, or perform any self maintenance tasks. Technically the “R” word applies to her. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t intelligent on her own scale or worthy of respect as human being. If people like Ms. Coulter would have to go through the physical and mental upheavals as people with disabilities do every day, they would see the world much differently.

  39. C. Russell says:

    Speaking as a word-lover, a conservative Republican and a special education teacher, the last time I checked, it was a free country and if Ann Coulter wanted to use the word “retard” she could. Up until this year, it was a legitimate label used by the federal government to delineate the amount of services a student was qualified to receive in a special education program.

  40. ronee groff says:

    What is wrong with this woman?!!! To get ratings or attention she stoops to the lowest form of devise which is to draw attention to herself at the insult and hurt of others. She is disrespectful to the President of these United States, disrespectful to all those that may have a different point of view then herself or her cronies, disrespectful to the disability community, disrespectful to any decent minded person who can take a conversation or argument at a high level without name calling or ripping down. She has exposed her ignorance and narcissism. She stands behind a definition which has changed and be abused by arrogant elites such as herself. Shame!!!

  41. Denise says:

    Dear Reader,
    My mother taught me to ignore anyone that bothered me, and my boyfriend always saidv”consider the source” when it came to credibility. Ann Coulter like Rush Limbaugh, only expresses opinions, and there is no such thing as a right or wrong opinion. It doesn’t take 20/20 vision, either, to realize how extremely prejudiced she is against anyone different than her in any way. Considering the lack of credibility, because of this, that Ann Coulter demonstrates to the public every time she’s in public, she has no credibility just as she has no information about the majority of the world which is so unlike her and bettter for that reason. This lacking credibility for the reasons listed are reasons she’s quite easy for me to ignore. Just keep all of this in mind so she doesn’t evoke any negative reactions in or from you.

  42. DJ Shoaf says:

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste Ms. Coulter. Go back to school and learn to speak respectfully and then ask for forgiveness and you shall receive it.

  43. Liz says:

    Well, I’m referring to Ms Coulter: she is very retarded in her use of the English language. When you work on a car, you can retard the spark, and adjust things…even a language adjustment will not equate retard with looser. Only in her small, finite world is that a possible definition. Retarded is a synonym for slow,
    delayed, etc. Perhaps her mental capability retards her ability to read a dictionary or thesaurus, or perhaps
    she has a learning disability. She is not a role model. Turn off the tv.

  44. Lord NyahNyah says:

    Ann Coulter’s gracelessness is as much an embarrassment to the American Right as Oscar Wilde’s big mouth was to Victorian high society. Even worse, she’s not one bit sorry for it.

  45. soricobob says:

    Making comments about people such as Coulter just…..oops!

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