She’s got something to say about everything and her strong opinions always rub someone up the wrong way. But this time, Katie Hopkins may have taken it too far – calling an autistic 9-year-old a tw*t on Twitter.
The mum-of-3 was watching Channel 4’s Born Naughty – a show about children with behavioural problems when she unleashed the cruel Twitter rant.
“Honey can’t complete the autism assessment as she is too busy being a complete tw*t. But the sh*t mum assessment is complete,” Katie tweeted.
She then went on to comment on 9-year-old Honey’s weight, comparing her to a pig. “Honey is completing a story about three little pigs. She identifies strongly with this animal,” she tweeted. “‘We are looking at a little girl…’ Sorry, I am going to have to stop you there. That girl isn’t little,” she added.
During the Channel 4 show that features consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram (above left) and family GP Dr Dawn Harper, Honey (above right) was diagnosed with mild autism and was told she suffers from Pathological Demand Avoidance – which causes her to struggle with the demands of daily life.
“Now Honey’s mum has a label she can tell the mums of the kids Honey bites it is not her fault, So that’s OK then,” Katie remarked at the diagnosis. “The taxpayer is now forking out for play sessions for Honey and a special school. Supplemented by chocolate and red bull,” she added.
Katie’s comments enraged social media users but she wasn’t put off. “Dear rubberneckers – if I am live-tweeting a program and you don’t find it funny, feel free not to look. Own your problems people,” she tweeted.
Unsurprisingly it’s not just her Twitter followers who felt compelled to comment. “It’s unacceptable to talk about children in this aggressive way, regardless of whether they have a diagnosed condition like autism or not,” Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs and Social Change at the National Autistic Society, tells The Independent. “If Katie wants to really understand autism, we would like to invite her to come to meet some members of the National Autistic Society and hear about the challenges they face every day.”
And a mother of a 7-year-old boy with autism was so upset by Katie’s comments that she felt she had to write an open letter, published in The Mirror:
“Dear Katie Hopkins,
You don’t know me, but boy do I know who you are.
See, I feel I need to explain a few things to you. I’m a mum of an autistic child called Sam, he’s almost seven years old and he’s amazing.
I’m also a parent support worker and help run an autism support group.
One of the things that breaks my heart is meeting parents with newly-diagnosed children and their stories of pure ignorance they have to go through daily.
You know the sort of thing – kid kicking off in Sainsbury’s, people tutting or even stating how ‘a smack would sort them out’.
They don’t know the absolute sensory pain our children are going through with the loud supermarket lights – yes, that’s right, the lights!
Or they are, like my son, petrified of automatic doors and standing screaming outside the shop.
I’ve grown a very tough skin but comments you made about a child being a t*** over Twitter have upset me.
See, comments like that set our community back by 20 years, which is a real shame as we’ve come so far.
It’s bad enough getting judged on a daily basis without someone in the public eye making comments about a child, or stating the Labour Party’s Ed Miliband is on the spectrum – like it’s something horrific.
You should come along to our support group and meet our amazing parents and children.
That’s an open invite. I’m all for educating the ignorant.
I’m not going to ask you to apologise – what would be the point? But I will say one thing: autism, or any disability, can happen to anyone. You should know this, having epilepsy yourself.
What do you think? Has Katie Hopkins finally gone too far?
Photos: Getty, Channel 4 and Twitter / Nicky Seers