Asked about his 2008 statement that "I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out," Michael Savage said it was "said in jest."
On the May 7 edition of CNN's American Morning, co-host Kiran Chetry asked radio host Michael Savage about his July 16, 2008, statement that "I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out." Savage then said to Chetry: "That's an absurd statement that was said in jest. They understand that." After Media Matters for America highlighted his comments, which generated extensive criticism, Savage claimed that the comments were "take[n] out of context," a claim Media Matters rebutted.
On the July 16, 2008, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Savage claimed that autism is "[a] fraud, a racket." Savage went on to say, "I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.' " Savage had previously described autism as a "phony disease."
From the May 7 edition of CNN's American Morning:
CHETRY: Why don't you clear up some of the misconceptions? I want to ask you about your views on some of the following things. What are your views on homosexuality, for example?
SAVAGE: My religious training teaches me that it's something to shun, and when a society starts to embrace homosexuality and other behaviors, where does the society end up?
CHETRY: And what do you say to people who say, you know, "I was born this way? I didn't ask to, you know, be attracted to one sex or the other and I shouldn't be treated differently?"
SAVAGE: Well, you could be born many different ways -- it doesn't mean this is a -- it doesn't mean that a person has to follow their urges. I mean, there are many urges that people have, and if a society starts to engage homosexuality on an equal footing with heterosexuality, you end up with no society. Where is the reproduction supposed to come from? Have we lost all sense of father, mother, and family?
CHETRY: You once said about autism --
SAVAGE [audio clip]: You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is.
SAVAGE: That's an absurd statement that was said in jest. They understand that. First of all, I come from a family where I had a handicapped brother, which I don't want to go into. And I have given money, I have supported people, I protected the defenseless all my life. There's no one in the media who's done more for the defenseless than Michael Savage, particularly children.
CHETRY: What are your views about immigrants and illegal immigration?
SAVAGE: Illegal immigration? It's in keeping with 80 percent of the American people. They want it stopped, and they want it stopped now.