TOURETTE SYNDROME ASSOCIATION letter of response to garrison keillor radio show



Mr. Garrison Keillor

Host, Producer

A Prairie Home Companion

American Public Media

480 Cedar Street
Saint Paul, MN USA 55101-2217


Dear Mr. Keillor:

     Garrison Keillor ridiculing people with Tourette Syndrome? The same Garrison Keillor whose programs are so much admired by so many of our members?

     Unfortunately, yes.  That was the case on your broadcast of February 4.  In it, a man and a woman are said to have "Broadway Tourette's" and burst periodically and annoyingly into show business songs.

     Further, to protect them from the wrath of their fellow ship passengers, they are segregated for their own safety.

     Whether or not this is a comic device sure to draw gales of laughter we are not in a position to judge. But we do know that it was surely hurtful to many in the Tourette Syndrome community who flooded us with deeply felt expressions of sorrow and anger.

     The fact is that among the hundreds and thousands of children and adults with TS, disturbing outbursts are far from typical and certainly do not merit the stereotype that you encouraged in your broadcast.

     This is not merely a matter of bruised feelings among parents of vulnerable youngsters and adults who must cope with burdensome disorder every day of their lives, Rather, segments such as these tend to encourage harmful discrimination in education, employment and social acceptance.

     In the interest of fairness and responsibility, Mr. Keillor, we earnestly hope that you will find an early opportunity to correct the distorted impression left by your program.


Judit Ungar

Tourette Syndrome Association


P.S.  Tourette Syndrome is defined as a disability under federal law.


cc:    Bill Kling, President and CEO of Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media Group


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