A video posted to Marjorie Harvey’s Instagram shows her using the word, which is an outdated pejorative against people with intellectual disabilities.
“I’m sitting here arguing with my husband, ’cause clearly he thinks I’m retarded [and] I don’t know how to cut a beet,” she said as she and Harvey joked around in their kitchen.
Though Harvey may have intended it as a lighthearted comment, many fans were offended by her casual use of that slur.
“Using the R word in a negative/derogatory way is demeaning to others, regardless of whether she is using it toward herself or others,” read one comment. “Just something to simply think about when using that word as an insult … in other words, just don’t.”
“There are people like me, my family, my daughter who has Down syndrome, who are all hurt by the implication you made,” another follower said. “By using the R word in that way, it infers that people with cognitive disabilities are less than or dumb. Please consider taking the time to either personally or publicly reconsider using a word that hurts so many. I’m not saying that was your intent, but when know better, we should do better … right?”
“I can tell you that most people who use the word have an idea in their head when they do,” another commenter argued. “And that’s a person who is dumb or slow to understand. That’s who Marjorie was comparing herself to, whether she realizes it/meant to or not.”
“Why is this funny?” one commenter asked. “Any intelligent person knows that saying ‘ret@rd’ is considered derogatory and offensive to some. … Be smart about things that come out of your mouth. I have seen celebrities ruin their careers over things that have come out of their mouths! Be humble!”
“It was disappointing to hear that word used jokingly for I am a mother of a Down syndrome child and feel that people use the word too freely not realizing the impact it has on those of us that find it disrespectful and hurtful,” one mom wrote. “If her children or grandchildren had any special needs, a.k.a. learning developmental issues, I feel she would understand our position on this matter and choose her words more wisely.
“This has nothing to do with who she is, however it has everything to do with ignorance and knowing the meaning of the word,” the commenter continued. “If someone was to use the N word then people would find that to be offensive. So that was simply my point. Have consideration and be responsible for what comes out of your mouth, especially when you have a platform as she does.”
But Family Feud host Harvey had little patience for the criticism. He quickly swooped in to defend his wife and share his unapologetic stance.
“What you trippin’ ’bout ’cause my wife said the word retarded,” he wrote. “It’s a word, ain’t it? And she ain’t talking ’bout nobody but herself to me. … She ain’t saying it ’bout nobody’s baby. I don’t ever comment but damn is you just looking for something to be pissed off about ’cause we ain’t. And I wrote it retarded. NAH!!”
He’s not the only one accusing her critics of being overly sensitive — with one fan even defending the term based on President Trump‘s language.
“People ALWAYS looking for something to say and complain about. I usually don’t respond to ignorance but I had to on this one,” a supporter wrote. “People have a problem with certain words being used all the time, but yet the current president of the United States has said all kind of inappropriate words and statements.”
“Now we have to watch what we say in our own homes,” another fan complained. “This lady was speaking about herself to her husband. I think people are needing something to talk about. If you didn’t like what she said stop following her.”
“People act like they never used the word before,” read another comment.
So what exactly is the issue with that term?
“The word ‘retard’ is a slur and used to describe people without dignity,” Margaret Nygren, the executive director and CEO of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, told Yahoo Lifestyle last year. She noted that the term “mental retardation,” from which “retarded” stems, has now evolved into the more acceptable “intellectual disability.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Second-graders wearing blackface masks for school performance causes uproar
Mom whose daughter has muscle-wasting disease gets angry note after using disabled parking space
Virginia Tech’s women’s lacrosse team apologizes for singing N word in controversial video