On a segment on the Today Show (which aired on August the 20th) presenters Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb talk about misophonia.
It’s a short clip and they spend most of it laughing about misophonia, trying to mimic trigger sounds and doubting that it actually exists.
You can see the clip here (warning: contains mimicking of triggers)
Life would be pretty boring if we went around taking everything too seriously…
But publicly ridiculing people’s disorders or disabilities and suggesting that they’re silly, laughable or “phony” is a form of bullying. It’s incredibly insensitive not just to the direct victims but to their friends and family who have to live with it on a daily basis. It’s also damaging to the miso community at a time when we’re trying to raise greater awareness about the condition.
If a public figure did a segment on TV merrily mocking depression or anorexia or Tourettes syndrome while swilling wine and pulling faces, there would rightly be an outrage and an apology issued.
No one’s interested in retribution or mob vigilantism – everyone makes mistakes and does stupid, insensitive things from time to time. But when the platform is a public one and you are reaching out to millions of people, there is an implicit duty of care. That’s why the right thing for the show to do is apologise for the way they treated the subject with a complete lack of care or consideration.
Sadly the Today Show have not been forthcoming in this respect, so the International Misophonia Research Network has created a petition on Change.org asking “Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford to apologise for ridiculing misophonia”.
As the petition says: “Ms. Kotb and Ms. Gifford owe an apology for ridiculing misophonia and its sufferers. We want to see them spend airtime acknowledging what misophonia really is and who suffers from it. Like NBC has done before with previously misunderstood diagnoses and illnesses, we want you to take a step forward in educating America [and the rest of the world] about misophonia.”
Please do have a look at the petition and put your name down, it’s free and only takes a few seconds. It’d also be great if you could also share the petition link on Social Media so we can hit the 5,000 target.
This could be a fantastic opportunity to turn some negative, insensitive press into something really positive.