Friday, November 22, 2013

An open letter to The League

To whom it may concern,

I am sure that you have been bombarded with outraged emails, comments, and contacts in the last day.  I suppose you can add this one to your list.

I am the parent of a cleft-affected child.  I do not watch your show.  My husband, however, does.  I understand that the basis for your show is crass humor, with crude comments highlighting poor behavior.  Regardless of the basis for your show, there is a line between crass and flat out wrong.  I have heard about your comment regarding cleft children.  I understand you called them ugly.  Let me assure you, ugliness lies not with outward appearance.  I can see ugly, and it is not my child. 

Were you aware that cleft occurs in roughly 1 in every 700 births?  That it is one of the most common birth defects in the US?  I did the math for you - congratulations, you managed to insult roughly 453,012 people with your comment yesterday.  That number includes only the number of people living in the US with cleft.  It does not include their family members, friends, and others who may have found your comment offensive. 

I think sometimes we forget that there are real people out there living with disfiguring conditions every day.  I'd like to educate you a little bit about cleft.  Children with cleft face multiple surgeries in their lifetime, beginning when they are only a few months old and continuing through adulthood.  Each of these surgeries are extremely painful and require weeks to months of recovery time.  While cleft can sometimes be linked genetically, whether through a syndrome (and there are numerous syndromes that can cause cleft) or through family history, quite often there is no known cause for cleft.  This is the case with our daughter.  There is no reason.  It just is.  She can't help it, I can't help it, her dad couldn't help it.  This is not some thing that she made a decision to have.  YOU, however, made a decision to ridicule her for it.  I fail to see where the humor lies when an adult (in a script or otherwise) makes derogatory comments about an innocent child or children.  I have spent the past nine years teaching my children that words hurt, and that making fun of others, especially their appearance, is never okay.  Your show just told all of it's viewers that it is okay to make fun of other's appearances.  I hope that makes you proud.

Here is a list of famous people who are cleft affected for you:  Cheech Marin, Tom Brokaw, Jesse Jackson, Mark Hamill, Carmit Bachar (of the Pussycat Dolls), Stacy Keach, Annie Lennox, and the one you might recognize the most, Peyton Manning.  Are these people ugly?

Shame on the writers who wrote the line, the actor who said the line, the director who filmed the line, the producers who backed the line, and FX for airing the line. 

You may never read this letter - and that is your decision.  However, rest assured that the thousands of people I have contact with through social media, public blogging, and news stations I am sending this letter to, will.  I hope you never have to face the possibility of a loved one with a defect.  But if you do, I hope you remember this moment.  Maybe then you may feel some remorse. 

an offended parent.
My beautiful, cleft-affected daughter. 


  1. When I posted my concerns about this I could never imagined the support we would get. But I should have know that we all feel as strongly about our children. Thank you for writing this letter it basically is my own story.

  2. Wonderful wording. I have two cleft affected children and like you I do not believe them to be ugly. They are handsome young men. Thank you for writing this.

  3. I have a cousin, and he has sons with cleft. But they are great, handsome and people I love so very much!

  4. Alright people look. There's a difference between cruelty and truth. Going up to someone that has a cleft and saying, hey uggo. That is cruelty. It is mean and should not be tolerated. The simple acknowledgement of the fact that a person is less physically attractive than they would be without the cleft is just true. I'm not being mean. And anyone who has ever gotten surgery for their kid certainly can't say anything against what I just said because it's the reason the surgery exists. Now stop being childish and ignore it for the joke that it was. Lets face it. You weren't watching the league anyway.

    1. I bet the best part of you was left inside the condom.You know the part that says maybe stupid things should not come from my mouth.

    2. More beauty can be fuond in a child born with cleft than some born without. Truth is you can't help stupid. The simple acknowledgment of the fact that a person is less physically attractive than they would be without the cleft is just true . . . uh, really? WOW. The simple acknowledgement that an ignorant idiot who is not intelligent enough to know that a person with a cleft can be far more beautiful than a stupid, superficial, vain, ignorant, person such as yourself is just true. I would rather be surrounded by the beautiful people who were born with "the cleft" than ignorant people like you any day of the week. God made cleft babies for a reason, but I can't wait to ask His reason for making stupid people like you!

    3. The thing is, observing that a child appears different because of a cleft and making a statement that "they are ugly anyway" are two totally different things. The line said on te show was ignorant and yes, cruel.

      Furthermore, I can assure you that our decision for our daughter to have surgery had NOTHING to do with appearance. Without surgery, she could not eat normally. She could not drink through a straw, bottle or cup. She could not speak. She had continuous eat infections which could lead to hearing loss. Our decision had everything to do with her health and well being, and nothing to do with her appearance. I am certain that other cleft parents feel the same - we see our children as beautiful and we do not make the choices about these surgeries to change their appearance - but to give them what they need to literally survive.

      Thank you for your statements, though. They clearly show just how uneducated so many are about cleft and it's effects.