Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mock me all you like but leave my disabled son alone: Katie Price's heartfelt denunciation of Frankie Boyle's vile slur and the TV bosses who defended


Devoted: Katie Price with her son Harvey, who recently turned nine, says she would never swap him for an able-bodied child

My son, Harvey, turned nine last month, and we held a little party to celebrate.

The only guests were immediate family — too much activity causes Harvey stress and his behaviour can become disruptive — but he did have a big cake decorated with a picture of a frog.

Harvey loves cakes. He always enjoys blowing out the candles, and he adores frogs. They are his latest obsession. He draws them so carefully — the bulging eyes, the long back legs — and colours them in bright green.

Relentless: A scene from Katie: Standing Up For Harvey, shows the glamour model cradling her son Harvey

At the moment, every scrap of paper in the house is covered in leaping frogs.

The cake and the frog obsession explain a lot about Harvey. Most mothers of nine-year-olds might boast that their child is learning French or the violin. I’m just pleased and proud that Harvey can draw, observe and see colours.

Soon after he was born, I was told he had a serious problem with his sight. Later, I learned that he was blind. Actually, he has some residual vision, and he is brilliant at using it.

He recognises colours and shapes. He has even learned to turn them into pictures.

Vile slur: Frankie Boyle made comments about Katie's son Harvey on his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights

He draws the same things obsessively, over and over again. First it was aeroplanes, then rainbows, now it’s frogs. That’s down to his autism. Like most children with the condition, he periodically gets fixated on one subject.

He is also compulsive about routines. Nothing must disturb Harvey’s ordered world, or there is hell to pay.

The cake is another matter. Harvey eats and eats, and if I did not stop him he would do so continually. He is prone to weight-gain, but he is not greedy.

The daddy: Former football Dwight Yorke, left, is Harvey's father. Harvey, right as a toddler, was born in 2002 in Brighton

He has a clinical condition — I’ll come to that later — which means he can’t control his appetite. The hormones that control his growth are also out of kilter. So he is bigger than most kids. But to the ignorant, Harvey is just a big, fat, blind kid — and he has been called that many times.

I’ve only skimmed the surface of the problems facing my much-loved eldest child, but by now you know enough about Harvey’s disabilities to understand the hurdles he leaps each day.

So you will understand the extent of my shock and anger when I learned that Frankie Boyle, the comedian — though he barely deserves the title — had singled my son out to be the butt of a vile ‘joke’.

Katie rubs some cream into her son's leg as he sits in his bed before sleeping. She calls looking after Harvey 'relentless'

To convey the full impact of what Boyle said on his Channel 4 ‘comedy’ show last December, I must, I’m afraid, repeat his offensive remarks in full.

To begin with, he said my ex-husband, Peter Andre, and I had been fighting over custody of Harvey. ‘Eventually one of them will lose and have to keep him,’ Boyle said.

That is the type of cruel offence we expect disabled people to accept. If you are disabled, you are a burden, and people want rid of you.

Then Boyle made a remark so offensive it has no place in civilised society.

Referring to my second marriage, to Alex Reid — we have since separated — he said: ‘I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage-fighter — she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from f***ing her.’

I can’t overstate the outrage and revulsion I felt when I heard this attack on my vulnerable, disabled son. I am used to defending myself against insults and, at times, justified criticism.

Happier times: Katie Price with her husband Peter Andre, with whom she had two children, Junior and Princess

I don’t deny there are aspects of my own life and past that have been controversial. I’ve made mistakes in equal measure to my success, but I can answer back — and I do. Harvey can’t.

Boyle’s remark is vile on so many levels. Sadly, I’ve grown used to insensitive jokes about Harvey’s size. When Heat magazine published a sticker with the words ‘Harvey wants to eat me!’ across it, I was appalled.

But at least the magazine apologised. Boyle and Channel 4 have done neither. Boyle’s disgusting suggestion slandered my innocent son and insulted every disabled person in Britain.

Care: Katie soothes Harvey while she has her hair done in a still from tonight's programme

Imagine if the reason Boyle gave for saying Harvey was capable of raping me was not because of his disability but because he is black. People would understand how discriminatory that is. It is just as discriminatory when the joke is based on someone’s disability.

That is why I have decided to talk openly, and in detail, about Harvey for the first time.

Tonight my television documentary about him, Katie: Standing Up For Harvey, introduces viewers to my campaign on behalf of every disabled child and adult in Britain.

I hope that, through the programme, Harvey’s disabilities will highlight the difficulties — and also the positives — faced by children with disabilities, and their families.

Katie: Standing Up For Harvey is on Sky Living tonight at 9pm.

source: dailymail

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