In the age of ‘wokeness,’ you’d think people would know by now that it’s never right to make fun of persons with disabilities (PWDs). But it turns out that there are still those who think it’s totally fine to mock them.
The Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) issued a statement yesterday to call out netizens who have done the “Boyet Challenge,” saying that the online videos appearing on social media are wrong because they make fun of people with autism and other disabilities.
According to their website, the ASP is a non-profit organization that provides services and training to families living with autism.
Boyet is a character in the GMA soap opera My Special Tatay (“My Special Father”), a man who has “a mild intellectual disability,” according to the show’s webpage.
Boyet is played by actor Ken Chan, who sometimes posts videos on Facebook in character.
The “Boyet Challenge” started around last month and has netizens mimicking Boyet’s disabilities in an exaggerated manner — all for laughs.
Here is one example of a man doing the “Boyet Challenge” which went viral recently. Judging by the reactions of netizens, they think that mocking people with disabilities is funny.
Not cool at all, people.
The Autism Society condemned such videos and said in their statement that the videos are “thinly-veiled instruments of ridicule of those who live with autism and intellectual disabilities.”
The group also decried the spread of the videos before and during the National Autism Consciousness Week. The celebration, which occurs every third week of January, was based on Proclamation No. 711 that was signed by then-President Fidel Ramos in 1996. It aims to raise awareness about autism and wants to create a supportive environment for those who have it.
The group added that Republic Act 9442 prohibits the ridicule of persons with disabilities.
But it also posed this question in Filipino: “But even if there is no law, is it right to make fun of those who have disabilities? Don’t joke about people who have autism.”
Take heed, Pinoy netizens.