By Jake Crosby
With Temple Grandin now disassociating herself from her mother Eustacia Cutler’s fallacious article in The Daily Beast linking autism to child porn, attention now shifts to The Daily Beast itself, particularly site’s editor Tina Brown. In an article for the now-defunct Newsweek Magazine of which she was editor, Brown referred to her “adored” adult son with Asperger’s. It is then especially odd, given that she has a son with Asperger’s whom she adores, that she would allow a totally baseless article claiming autistic men are more likely to be pederasts. She remains silent on the topic even after being asked on Twitter how she could have published such a piece.
Tina Brown is responsible for articles published on The Daily Beast website. That means she should vet everything The Daily Beast runs, and it is possible she could have simply missed Cutler’s article. Nonetheless, it seems highly unlikely that the mother of a son with Asperger’s would have completely missed such a sensationalist and bigoted story by the mother of perhaps the most famous autistic person alive today and who ever lived.
In Brown’s piece where she discusses her son’s disability, she talks about the attempt of parents like her to “patch together a tolerably happy existence” for their offspring. Among the hopes she has for her son is “a safe sex life,” according to that article. Now everybody should have a safe sex life. However, the common complaint I’ve heard from other autistic men is simply the lack of a sex life – nothing about concerns for safety. Obviously, a sex life involving something illegal would not be safe.
If Tina Brown was aware of the article, does she relate to Eustacia Cutler’s article in some way? Perhaps she knows of somebody in the autism community who fits Cutler’s profile of an autistic male pederast? The only person I know of who might fit that profile is the psychologist mentioned in autistic blogger Jonathan Mitchell’s response to Cutler’s article, and that psychologist’s claim of an autism diagnosis is dubious according to Mitchell. Whether Brown does know of an autistic man who looks at child porn or not, it is still no excuse for painting the entire male autistic population with such a denigrating association.
While Tina Brown may be able to deny ever knowing about this article before publication – however unlikely that may be – she cannot deny having any responsibility for running Eustacia Cutler’s piece. Brown has an obligation to speak out against the bogus allegations Cutler raised.
Tina Brown owes it both to her profession as a journalist, and even more importantly, to the entire autism community. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, put “Attn: Tina Brown” in the subject line and ask that she condemn Eustacia Cutler’s article.
Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology.