Drew Carey threw the spotlight on a revolting prank targeting an autistic teen when he pledged a $10,000 reward to help the local police find the high schoolers behind it. What they did was dump a bucket of feces, urine and spit on the special-needs student, who had been told it was part of the viral ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” fund-raiser.
“WTF? Just saw this. Horrendous,” the Price Is Right host Tweeted Friday. “These kids should be arrested and expelled.” The incident happened in Bay Village, a suburb of Cleveland, Carey’s hometown.
The 14-year-old victim’s mother discovered the video of the twisted prank on his cell phone; it had been posted on social media. She said her son was embarrassed and didn’t want to tell anyone afterward. Bay Village police chief Mark Spaetzel said the video is one of the most disturbing things he’s ever seen.
It’s hard to comprehend that high school kids could be this cruelly lacking in empathy. It’s all the worse knowing that the victim was apparently targeted because of his “otherness” and vulnerability; it’s likely he did nothing to provoke such a mortifying act.
In case the reward isn’t needed, Carey added an offer to give unused money to Autism Speaks, drawing praise from the likes of autism mom Holly Robinson Peete. But the comic waded unknowingly into controversial waters; there’s a vocal anti-AS camp that opposes the organization’s goal of “curing” autism through research, rather than endorsing neurodiversity and helping adults with autism. Their twitter campaign was vehement enough that Carey responded he would donate the money to “some worthwhile organization regardless.”
Meanwhile, Jenny McCarthy—who has made the controversial claim that she “cured” her son of autism—tweeted Sunday night that she would match Carey’s $10,000 offer.
We’d love to think that the public revulsion over this act will get through to the kids who apparently thought it was funny in the first place to afflict another teenager because he is different.