Bloomberg ASL Interpreter Lydia Callis Mocked by Chelsea Handler, Gets Schooled

Smithtr

G.G.H.T
Premium Member
Bloomberg ASL Interpreter Lydia Callis Mocked by Chelsea Handler, Gets Schooled by Deaf Group

Lydia Callis was just doing the job she was paid to do when she stood beside Mayor Bloomberg the other day and used American Sign Language to convey his speech to the city's deaf and hard of hearing residents regarding Sandy and the recovery. And yet when people not familiar with the way the Deaf communicate, they expressed fascination and curiosity about the interpreter's use of vivid and passionate body language. One Twitter user even called her a "living emoticon."

The Press Conference Raises Interest

The video of the press conference went viral, and Chelsea Handler picked it up and used it on her show, "Chelsea Lately," during a two-minute segment. What transpired was evidence of a woman completely unaware of the way deaf people communicate. She accused Callis of "editorializing" the mayor's speech, called her overzealous, and spoke about the interpreter in a condescending manner. She also ridiculed people who use sign language interpreters like a high school bully.

To top it off, she brought out a fake interpreter dressed as Callis to convey her words to her co-hosts. What ensued was nothing short of a complete mockery of a very real language that millions of people depend on every day to communicate. At one point during the skit, the interpreter even grabbed her own boobs. It was highly insulting, even to those without hearing loss, because it showed a gross lack of empathy and understanding to a group of people historically patronized, ridiculed, and bullied for years.

Hearing folks simply don't get it. Being deaf doesn't make one dumb. Hearing loss or deafness does not make it alright to ignore, dehumanize, or otherwise exclude from activities just because they are unable to hear and speak properly. Most people aren't even aware that some deaf children don't even learn how to "talk" until they are in school and begin to learn sign language. This is because most deaf children are born of hearing parents who don't know or don't want to be bothered to learn sign language. Even children implanted with devices such as cochlear implants risk having communication problems if the device fails.

Callis Explains Sign Language

Callis has remained mostly inaccessible to interviews, instead opting to stay silent for the most part. She has given one interview, however, in which she explained the sudden interest in her interpreting:

"Hearing people tend to not understand that deaf people need those facial expressions. The body language replaces the intonation others hear in a voice. If I stand up there with a straight face and just interpret it, they're not getting half the message."

This is precisely the problem with Handler. She has no awareness of deafness or American Sign Language (ASL).

Deaf Nation Responds

As a result of Handler's insensitivity, deaf advocacy organization, Deaf Nation, released a letter the group sent to Handler this morning on their Facebook page. The letter, which received rave reviews from the Deaf community, reads:

"First, the interpreter is not 'overzealous.' Secondly, our language and culture are not to be mocked or made fun of. Thirdly, the interpreter did not have 'cranked up passion' - she was using appropriate ASL grammar, which calls for varied facial expressions and use of space in different ways."

As of this writing, the YouTube video of the segment has received overwhelmingly negative responses, mostly from the Deaf community or those familiar with it. Whether Chelsea Handler responds to Deaf Nation's letter remains to be seen, but Lydia Callis and interpreters around the nation deserve respect, not scorn or mockery. They serve a valuable purpose in keeping people informed of important events, such as superstorm Sandy.
http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981735011
 

Bottesini

Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
Chelsea Handler was noted for mocking Marlee Matlin previously. Handler is just a really tacky person.
 

Angel1989

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Sick sense of humor if you can even call it that. People are missing, no food, water or shelter and this is what she does. She needs a lesson in compasion I believe.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Callis was not over the top or unprofessional. She did a fine job, and held up well with all that pressure. The assignment she did would normally require a team member and being away from home for the duration of the emergency. :thumb:

This Handler person would probably be the type who would also make fun of stroke victims who can't speak clearly or amputees who limp. Sickening. :barf:
 

drphil

Active Member
Having watched both ASL interpreters on CNN especially their "facial expressions"- to me-clearly they weren't changing their expression while signing. Also-both seemed to be "mouthing words" while signing. They were signing while Bloomberg was speaking.

My curiosity was to see exactly how "facial expressions" changed what was being signed. It has been mentioned many times here-Alldeaf.com how important facial expressions are to ASL signing.

Being CNN it was closed captioned.
 

kwptennisCODA

New Member
Slap in the face... rude...

I think it was great disrespect to the deaf community. Look what I had to say to chelsea on my youtube video. Show some love!!! Hope Chelsea sees it.

check out my video please! #chelseahandler [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIzAoMHovpo]Response to Chelsea Lately- Lydia interpreter - YouTube[/ame]
 

asl.student

New Member
my two cents...

diatribe of the week (that I had posted on facebook as well as mailed to a few "organizations" that I have written in protest):
(I am a hearing student studying to be an ASL/English Interpreter and ally).

"aside and for the record..i think reputable media feeding public ignorance regarding Bloomberg's interpreter and referring to her as "animated or making light" instead of how effectively she does her job, bringing serious news to the Deaf community, is a prime example of continued institutionalized oppression. in fact it came up in class that no controversy would ensue over a speaking interpreter. She is completely professional and my proverbial hat is off to her."

The people/organizations [were also told to]:
" Educate yourselves and print a retraction."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." ghandi

future interpreter for the signing impaired <grin>,
Tammy
:type::ily:
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Having watched both ASL interpreters on CNN especially their "facial expressions"- to me-clearly they weren't changing their expression while signing. Also-both seemed to be "mouthing words" while signing. They were signing while Bloomberg was speaking.

My curiosity was to see exactly how "facial expressions" changed what was being signed. It has been mentioned many times here-Alldeaf.com how important facial expressions are to ASL signing....
Yes, sign language interpreters usually do simultaneous interpreting while the hearing person is speaking. Sometimes we use consecutive interpreting but you'll see more simultaneous interpreting on TV.

Interpreters aren't always mouthing the words being spoken. Sometimes they do for the proper nouns that are used, especially ones that are spelled out.

Some of the facial expressions are used to indicate the tone of the verbal statement, such as anger, fear, authority, etc. Other facial expressions are non-manual grammatical markers. These are used to indicate such things as questioning, topicalization, and degree.

Shifting the position of the body can also indicate various grammatical emphases and modifications, role shifting, and directionality.
 

drphil

Active Member
As for " mouthing of words- for who?"-on CBC TV pickup this evening 5.30pm of the cancellation/postponement of the N Y Marathon Race this Sunday. I can only repeat what I actually saw-she didn't change her facial expressions-while signing.

Presumably different ASL signers use different facial expressions or minimal depending on circumstances?

Whether the closed captioning was Bloomberg speaking or the interpreter "mouthing" unknown-both were "doing" at the same time?

A bit more to "ponder on ASL practice".
 
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KarissaMann05

Active Member
Premium Member
It is not only her who mocks Lydia. There are more videos or fan tumblr blogs did make some more sickening humors and make fun of at her... =/
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
As for " mouthing of words- for who?"-on CBC TV pickup this evening 5.30pm of the cancellation/postponement of the N Y Marathon Race this Sunday. I can only repeat what I actually saw-she didn't change her facial expressions-while signing.

Presumably different ASL signers use different facial expressions or minimal depending on circumstances?

Whether the closed captioning was Bloomberg speaking or the interpreter "mouthing" unknown-both were "doing" at the same time?

A bit more to "ponder on ASL practice".
Maybe it's time to check the refresh rate on your monitor or complain to your cable service. There's something obviously wrong with your TV.

Closed captioning of the interpreter mouthing? Now there's a concept! :laugh2:
 

Smithtr

G.G.H.T
Premium Member
As for " mouthing of words- for who?"-on CBC TV pickup this evening 5.30pm of the cancellation/postponement of the N Y Marathon Race this Sunday. I can only repeat what I actually saw-she didn't change her facial expressions-while signing.

Presumably different ASL signers use different facial expressions or minimal depending on circumstances?

Whether the closed captioning was Bloomberg speaking or the interpreter "mouthing" unknown-both were "doing" at the same time?

A bit more to "ponder on ASL practice".
:dunno: what said you , No idea . CBC 0.o! sick me on reading numerous comments.. ! I tried explain to clear again. I tried again not obviously him. mixing to me confused.. you mind on reading make sure thread! I hope be you help clear to understand lol!

Said mocky point

As of this writing, the YouTube video of the segment has received overwhelmingly negative responses, mostly from the Deaf community or those familiar with it. Whether Chelsea Handler responds to Deaf Nation's letter remains to be seen, but Lydia Callis and interpreters around the nation deserve respect, not scorn or mockery. They serve a valuable purpose in keeping people informed of important events, such as superstorm Sandy.
said on mocky

I reading comments numberous!
 
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