Terry Rossio is best known as a screenwriter behind such hits as Aladdin, Shrek and The Pirates of the Carribean. He is worst known as an anti-vaxxer who employs false equivalency and racial slurs in an attempt to further his cause.
Twitter users became all too aware of the latter this holiday weekend when Rossio responded to a tweet from The 100 writer Julie Benson, where she suggested donating to organizations that help underprivileged children receive potentially life-saving vaccines. Here’s her tweet.
Brilliant! pic.twitter.com/O08JZWu5is— Julie Benson (@TheJulieBenson) November 23, 2018
And a screenshot of Rossio’s response.
Terry Rossio has always been an a total garbage fire of a human, but hoooooooly shiiiiiiiiiit wtf. pic.twitter.com/YinHGxouGa— Brian Scully (@brianscully) November 23, 2018
One more time for the white people who somehow have missed the damn memo: don’t use the n-word. Just don’t.
Especially do not use it to try to declare some other word is just as bad. Because every time you do, that word is not one censored in news articles. So, you’re wrong. More specific to this embarrassing incident, there’s not a history of injustice—including enslavement and literal lynchings—against anti-vaxxers. So, you’re wrong. Plus, anti-vaxxers aren’t being stereotyped because of a physical trait over which they have no control. They are being judged for their actions, which put theirs and other children at risk. So, you’re wrong. And worse, Rossio, you are a writer. Your JOB is to know how words work. So, you’re wrong! And Twitter rose up to let you know.
Here’s a sampling of responses to Rossio’s now deleted tweet:
Anti-vaxxer, please.https://t.co/lMSP4e0iXr— See #Widows, in theaters now! #WidowsMovie (@BoringDrew) November 23, 2018
God, this is such a good point. I remember how American founders and citizens enslaved vaccine skeptics for decades. And then, even after freeing them, the government enshrined laws to marginalize vaccine deniers and to deny them wealth and opportunity. That's just history.— Jeffrey Grubb (@JeffGrubb) November 23, 2018
WTF is even a "vaccine damaged" child? BTW parents, don't let your kid hang out with Terry Rossio's kids.— Wesley Chu (@wes_chu) November 24, 2018
Hi, so — let's unpack this. Every single doctor on the planet is "ill-informed?" Do you also believe global warming is a hoax? I'm just trying to get a sense of what we're dealing with here.— (((Unibrowser))) (@madfoot) November 23, 2018
I'm sorry, is calling someone an "anti-vaxxer" using a dehumanizing word with an ugly history of centuries of slavery, systemic repression, racism, and targeted abuse?— B. Lynch (@BLynchBooks) November 23, 2018
Then it's not the same. So have the goddamn decency to treat it as such.
Anyway off to bed, here’s hoping all of you find someone or something you love as much as Terry Rossio loves tweeting the n-word/watching children die of easily preventable diseases, good night!— Jason Bailey (@jasondashbailey) November 24, 2018
Two days later, Rossio issued what some news outlets are calling an “apology.” I guess because Rossio’s the not the only writer here who doesn’t know how words work.
(3 parts)— Terry Rossio (@TerryRossio) November 25, 2018
In a recent Twitter post, arguing against stereotyping and hate
speech, I referenced the 'n-word' (the actual word) as an example of what
not to do.
That was a mistake. I am sorry.
I now understand that the word has no place in any conversation, ever.
You can't make a point against hate speech and reference actual words of hate speech. That was insensitive and ignorant.— Terry Rossio (@TerryRossio) November 25, 2018
I am immediately deleting the post to remove that toxic word from the
internet, where it should never appear in any context.
As the mistake was mine alone, this apology is also mine alone. A deeply— Terry Rossio (@TerryRossio) November 25, 2018
felt apology to all.
I continue to stand against hate speech and dehuhmanizing lables in
Terry, using “the actual word” wasn’t a problem. Your comment would have been just as ignorant and horrid if you had written:
“My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone an n-word and makes as little sense.”
It’s still wrong, as in both false and morally grotesque. The only thing you got right is that it makes “little sense.” If only there was some sort of resource a writer could refer to when they needed to be sure they understood the definition of a word.
The n-word is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed.— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) November 24, 2018
The same cannot be said for the term "anti-vax." https://t.co/RF7rdpMx8P