Last week, Professor Richard Dawkins told a radio host who has a child with Down’s syndrome that it is “wise and sensible” to abort babies who have Down’s syndrome to “increase the amount of happiness in the world.”
These comments are not only discriminatory but are reminiscent of an inaccurate and outdated view of what life is like for people with Down’s syndrome and their families.
Penguin Random House publishes Richard Dawkins’ books. As a company, they make it clear that they “celebrate and actively promote diversity and inclusion in all its forms, including and not limited to the nine protected characteristics cited in The Equality Act 2010” including “disability”. They go on to say that “It is not acceptable to make dismissive or hostile remarks about a person on any basis or to make assumptions about someone’s lifestyle, interests or abilities.”
Yet they continue to do business and provide a large ongoing income to an individual who has continued to make uninformed, antiquated and deeply discriminatory remarks that have no place in a progressive and inclusive society.
If you are a person with Down’s syndrome or have a family member with Down’s syndrome, please sign the open letter below to Markus Dohle, the Chief Executive Officer of Penguin Random House, calling on them to end their business relationship with Richard Dawkins and stop publishing his books, unless he reconsiders his hurtful remarks regarding the Down’s Syndrome community.
This is an opportunity for a leading publisher to make it clear that such comments are totally unacceptable, and to let the wider community know about the positive lived experience of people with Down’s syndrome and their families.