The Arc logo

The Arc Reacts to SNL’s Pete Davidson Using the R-Word

Washington, D.C. – The Arc is disappointed that Saturday Night Live Actor and Comedian Pete Davidson used the r-word during a comedy show at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Monday, August 26. He became upset at an audience member recording the performance on their cell phone. During an expletive-filled rant, Davidson used the slur against students in attendance.

“Pete Davidson’s use of the r-word is unacceptable. The word is dehumanizing and offensive to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and advocates,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc. “The Arc and our allies across the disability community have worked hard to put an end to the r-word and bring awareness to the painful history of exclusion behind the word. It has no place in our society, and it is shameful to hear it still used by anyone. We are asking Davidson for an apology.”

The Arc has been involved in diligent efforts to eliminate the word. We advocated heavily for the 2010 passage of Rosa’s Law, which removed the offensive term from federal health, education, and labor statutes. The Arc’s state and local chapters have successfully advocated for similar changes in states across the country as well, including removing the r-word from the names of the state government agencies that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.