Scarborough Clarifies Comment He Aimed at Aurora Shooting Suspect That Outraged Many

Jul 24, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Updated headline and first paragraph at 8:53 p.m. (PT). Following the lead of THR, where we got this item, our original headline and first paragraph said Scarborough "apologized." In fact, what he did was clarify his remarks, as a number of commenters to this story noted. He did not apologize for what he said. So we have now corrected our headline and first paragraph to reflect the action Scarborough actually took.

Cable talk host Joe Scarborough has clarified comments he made about James Holmes, the suspect in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that drew an outcry from autism advocates, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The story reports: “The former congressman and host of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ has received criticism for remarks he made on Monday’s show, in which he said that as soon as he heard that James Holmes, the alleged gunman responsible for the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, was a young, white male from the suburbs, he thought that Holmes was one ‘these people that are somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale.’"

Scarborough, who has a son with Aspergers, got heat for conveying what some observers saw as an offensive stererotype of people who have autism.

The cable host issued a clarification today to the website Mediaite, saying: "The growing Autism epidemic is a tremendous burden for children, parents and loved ones to endure. My call for increased funding and awareness for Autism and other mental health conditions was meant to support the efforts of those who work every day to improve the lives of Americans impacted. Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers. Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently.”


  1. This would be a nice apology, except autism is not a mental condition, it’s neurological. The guy has no clue, and you’d think he would what with having a boy with Aspergers.

  2. “Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently” hardly qualifies as an apology. Why do people even bother with these non-apology apologies. No one is really fooled unless they want to be.

  3. My son doesn’t have that kind of “Autism” Does yours?

  4. He didn’t apologize for his most grievous remarks that somehow white, upper class kids that are academically gifted but socially inept or loners develop into angry killers and that in his mind they almost always turn out to have autism. Simply not true, however they almost always, in fact over 90% turn out to be on or withdrawing from anti-psychotics or neuroleptic drugs. But we don’t want to discuss that and the lying pharmecutical companies that fudged their findings to the FDA to get approval. Even as the fines on these companies for fraud hit the billions of dollars, no one wants to talk about the obvious connections. Let’s just blame it on autistic people so they will be ostracized even more than they already are.

  5. That was NOT an apology at all. He did not retract or recant his vicious lie. He merely said that he could have been a prettier liar. Retitle your blog entry to reflect this. He did not apologize at all.

  6. He obviously has not educated himself in regards to the AUTISM “SPECTRUM or per Joe known as the scale. And Joe should know that this is a neurological disorder that is only found in the DSM IV because of the behaviors associated with it. Hopefully soon it will be treated as a neurological disorder should be treated. Joe Scarborough was incredibly irresponsible in using his platform yesterday and I hope that this will show that education is the key to helping bring awareness in a positive light to this unfortunate disorder.

  7. We should definitely put the word “apology” in scare quotes. Telling people that they misinterpreted his comment that the shooter was “on the autism scale” is not the same as apologizing. He then does a bit of grandstanding and then a marketing bit for Autism Speaks. He needs to retract the statement and offer an apology, especially to Autistics, who have to live with the effects of people thinking we are all potential shooters, and our families and friends, who are also adversely affected by his irresponsible comments. He also ought to apologize to his son. http://paulacdurbinwestbyautisticblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/autism-aurora-shooter-and-actual-crime.html

  8. Nope. And neither does my daughter. Or my nephew. Or my cousin. Or my second-cousins. Scarborough is an overinflated, underinformed windbag. Unfortunately, his profession gives his words a much wider range of influence than he deserves. So much for the once-noble profession of journalism!

  9. Why are we so sensitive……can’t we understand when some one just says the wrong thing by accident? Don’t we all make mistakes. I don’t need an apology from him. Mistakes happen. I still love the show and will continue to watch. It’s the ONLY show I watch on that channel.

  10. Zoey, you and a number of other commenters are right. Scarborough did not apologize. He only clarified his remarks. We used the word “apologizes” in our headline because that’s what the headline said in The Hollywood Reporter, where we got this item. We erred in doing that. Thanks for pointing out our mistake, which we have now corrected.

    Chuck Ross
  11. Why are we so sensitive? Let me count the ways.
    First we don’t get real new anymore, no facts, no two sides, we get ranting lunatics who think their opinion is the news and if they act mad enough or shout loud enough they win the day! If that is all we get then by God they better own those statements and take responsibility for their idiotic rantings.
    Two, Autism is an epidemic now affecting 1 in every 88 children, 1 in 54 boys. These children are now everywhere around us, devastating families, schools, churches and communities and they are about to break an already fragile economic condition in this nation when 1 in 88 start signing up for Social Security and medicaire for life. They are already mistreated by standard medical practitioners and schools, ignored by our federal alphabet agencies in denial that there is an epidemic, refused by insurance companies, and families are left to find answers on their own, often bankrupting the family both economically and emotionally. Parents see no one is preparing for this tsunami of disabled children and fear their children will end up crammed in institutions or roaming the streets, easy prey, easy victims.
    So autism is a crisis in America unfolding before our very eyes, and stupid statements like this are all they need so that they can further be stygmatized as potential mass murderers and ticking time bombs waiting to go off. I have seen enough in the last few days of people ignoring the part psychiatric drugs usually always play in these massacres as well as the refusal to discuss assault weapons, but you find us too sensitive that someone wants to point the blame at Autism.
    His statements were not just offensive, but dangerous to a lot of innocent people struggling to survive everyday.

  12. People need to think before they speak our Autistic young adults have a hard enough time finding jobs and making friends with out being labled mass murders as well My autistic son is 15 and just wants to be treated like any other teenage boy In his words mom that guy was just plain nuts

  13. You made my point….we all take things way to seriously. Autism is a huge issue for all of us in todays world and when you know a child that is on the spectrum you also know it is a very beautiful and sad all at the same time. But, I don’t think he was intentionally hurting every little kid out there with his misstatement. He made a mistake. PICK YOUR WEDGE AND MOVE ON! LIfe is way to short. Everyone has the right to have their own perspective.

  14. I do not think there is any need to apologize. Just about everyone born 1991 and more recently is definitely brain damaged to some degree from vaccines, fluoride, GMO food and crappy food/formula in the early years and lifelong.
    Even people my age (40’s) are at higher rates of illness, autoimmune disease, cancer, brain fog, systemic illnesses, than EVER BEFORE.
    No need to apologize. And, I am the mother of a kid who WAS on the spectrum. I healed her from PDD NOS with BIOMED. Diet changes, serious supplements, and chelation along with antifungal, antiviral and other herbal/natural treatments. She is 8 yo now and a little learning difficulties but socially, neurologically/sensory and socially, verbally NORMAL. 2 other kids totally unvaccinated, and healthy as horses.

  15. I appreciate you asking this quesiton and will be happy to tell you why this is wrong. I have an 11 year old son with severe autism who cannot talk or communicate. At least 25% of the people who see him for the first time are afraid he might be dangerous, yet he, like 99% of everyone else in the world, is not violent at all. Often, this translates into innocent, defenseless people getting abused, tazed, maced or restrained for no reason. In some cases, people with autism have died from these responses based on irrational fear of people and police.
    This jerk Scarboro has just reinforced those fears in people and harm will come to those who cannot defend themselves. Joe did not admit a damn thing and insulted the intelligence of anyone who disagreed with him.

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