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Kanye West’s Insistence For Disabled Fans To Rise During Sydney Concert Was ‘Downright Offensive’: President Of Disabled Rights Organization

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Sep. 16 2014, Published 12:28 p.m. ET

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Kanye West’s recent incident during a concert in Sydney, Australia — in which he paused his concert to insist a pair of disabled fans stand up — came off as "downright offensive," according to Mark Perriello, the president of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

As previously reported, the gaffe took place during West’s Yeezus show at Qantas Credit Union Arena Friday, in which he complained that the disabled fans wouldn’t rise — saying it was “the longest I’ve had to wait to do a song” — before sending a security staffer to verify the person’s disability.

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Perriello, in a piece for the Daily Beast, said the faux pax showed West has “a fundamental lack of understanding about the world in which we live,” adding that the rapper’s monologue, and demand for verification, “went from showing a lack of understanding to being downright offensive.

The AAPD president went on to say that he wasn’t surprised by the incident, as it’s indicative of a larger problem, in that “the world of disabilities remains largely hidden from the mainstream.


“Due to this, most Americans don't think to consider the quality of life for individuals with disabilities in America,” Perriello said, noting drastic issues the disabled community contends with ranging from employment to transportation.

Still, Perriello said he thinks something positive can be gleaned from the uncomfortable turn of events.

“My hope is that Kanye, everyone who attended his concert, and anyone paying attention to this story in the media, learned a little bit more about what it means to be a person with a disability in the modern age,” he said, “and uses their voice to help people with disabilities get off the sideline.”

The activist shouldn’t hold his breath, however, as West didn’t seem to show much remorse over the incident during his Monday concert in Brisbane, vaguely alluding to it, to kick off a long-winded rant about the media, and how some news items “are a little bit more sensationalized than others.”



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