“They’re kids, kids that have already had to endure enough,” Jordan Lark – a loving father to sons Mana, three, and Toa, who turns five in December – tells me.
“They don’t need distasteful shock jocks making fun of them.”
The nutritionist is referring to a segment on Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty Show on October 14, where the famous trio poked fun at a little girl with a rare genetic disorder.
Paisley Morrison-Johnson, an American toddler who suffers from the debilitating Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, was mocked by the hosts for her oversized tongue – a condition she’s already undergone two life-saving reduction surgeries for.
Reportedly, the now-deleted recording included phrases like, “If you thought your kid was ugly jump on Instagram and look at this” and “the tongue is a put-off”.
The skit, where the comedians encouraged listeners to search Instagram for images of Paisley, hit too close to home for an “angry and sad” Jordan.
You see, his eldest son Toa is a BWS sufferer too, making him 600 times more likely of developing cancer in comparison to a ‘normal’ child.
“Whether it was a topic that’s close to my heart like this, or another ‘joke’ about children’s appearances, there really isn’t any place for it,” Jordan said.
“It’s downright bullying. It’s distasteful. It’s not funny. It’s cruel and immoral.”
While little is known about the cause of the disorder, BWS is typically present at birth and marked by the overgrowth of limbs or facial features, irregular birth marks, incomplete organ development or enlarged kidneys.
In Toa's short life, he's undergone four invasive surgeries, including one that halved the size of his tongue.
The gorgeous boy's first years were marred by weekly hospital visits, monthly blood tests, and routine ultrasounds. Jordan and his partner live in fear that regular tumor surveillance procedures will one day return a positive result.
"Unfortunately or fortunately, Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome is an extremely rare condition and it doesn't impact on most," Jordan says.
"[So Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold] are lucky, because such a despicable act will, for the most part, have little impact on their career."
"...If they made fun of someone in a wheelchair, their reprimand would most likely fit the crime."
While Nova Entertainment deleted the segment from their podcast and issued an apology to offended parents within the BWS community, Jordan says it isn't enough.
Slamming the station's efforts as "poorly prepared" and "non-empathetic", Jordan says using the excuse of "a light-hearted discussion" is inadequate at best and deeply offensive at worst.
The on-air apology the hosts made, which included the excuse that their job was to make jokes, "completely downplayed their responsibility" in the matter, he added.
Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome affects roughly one in every 13,700 infants around the world and drastically changes the lives of all those involved.
When I asked Jordan what he'd like to say to the hosts if he could meet them, he said simply: "F*#k you Nova for making fun of that."
Jordan and other parents from the BWS community have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise awareness and much-needed funds for those suffering. You can donate here.
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