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Rapper 50 Cent caused a Twitter uproar after he responded bitterly to an overeager fan on the social networking site, writing for his nearly 7 million followers, “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic.” The fan had earlier jabbed at the rapper about his upcoming new record, “5 (Murder by Numbers),” “Release the album or get shot again.”
The rapper didn’t stop there: “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else,” he wrote. 50 Cent released the album shortly afterward (the full record is available for download on his website for free).
But his comments were not overlooked, and several people were upset by his comments, including actress and autism activist Holly Robinson Peete, whose eldest son RJ was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Peete wrote an open letter to the rapper and included a picture of her now-13-year-old son, saying, “this is my son Rodney Peete. He has autism. So I guess this is what autistic looks like? He is in special ed. He loves rap music and is a HUGE fan of yours. He’s a tremendous kid. He has to deal with so much trying to fit in. This isn’t helping.”
According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 88 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder.
The rapper subsequently deleted the offending tweets on his timeline, and on Sunday, he took the extra step to issue an apology for his comments. “I realize my autism comments were insensitive, however it was not my intention to offend anyone and for this I apologize,” 50 Cent wrote.
While the rapper rarely apologizes for his often politically incorrect opinions, lyrics and comments, 50 Cent has backpedaled before when he has tweeted before he thinks. Earlier this year, the rapper apologized to Interscope Records after he blamed them for leaking his song (it turned out to be a computer glitch, he said). And in March 2011, he issued a sort-of apology for tweeting jokes about the tsunami in Japan, which several deemed inappopriate. “Some of my tweets are ignorant I do it for shock value,” he wrote afterward. “Hate it or love it. I’m cool either way.”
The rapper had shocked many when he made light of the tragedy soon after the natural disaster story broke. In one, he tweeted, “Look this is very serious people I had to evacuate all my h**s from LA, Hawaii and Japan. I had to do it. Lol.” In another, he mocked tsunami threat to the U.S. west coast, writing “Wave will hit 8am them crazy white boys gonna try to go surfing.”
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