911 Employee apologizes for signing gibberish in parody interpreter video
[Transcript] There was a viral video in the Deaf community of two hearing women who acted like an emergency official and an interpreter making announcements in a parody video, in an attempt to be funny.
Here is the video, which was posted on a Facebook page called “Houston Deaf Politics Views, Comedy, News/Events.”
[Video of two women standing on a parking lot, one speaking and the other signing gibberish]
A Deaf artist and activist from Georgia, Amy Cohen Efron, said the skit was in “very poor taste” and was able to track down who the interpreter actor was and identified her as Tamra Whitted, who according to her Facebook profile, is a 911 Emergency Services Dispatcher in Lumberton, North Carolina. The other woman is Cathy Hammonds, who also works for the city’s emergency services.
Efron emailed the City of Lumberton Emergency Services to complain and pointed out that the highest ethical and moral conduct should be expected of her because she is a 911 dispatcher.
The director of Emergency Services, Bill French, responded to Efron via email and sincerely apologized for his employees publishing the “offensive Facebook post and remarks.”
French shared a statement from the two women, who said they deeply apologize and said they didn’t think before they acted. They said they should have known not to make fun of the deaf and hard of hearing.
The Daily Moth emailed French to ask if the emergency department will take any steps to possibly educate and train, or re-train, emergency staff. We did not get an immediate response, but if we do, we will add it in the comments.
Efron told “The Daily Moth” that French has reached out to the North Carolina Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services to schedule a training session for his department.
There was another interpreter parody video on social media by a social media comedian named “Kitchen aka FatandFunny” who created a video of him in a PIP screen “interpreting” for an emergency announcement. He made gibberish arm movements and dance moves.
Efron posted on Facebook that there is a big difference with the second video because he is a comedian and not a 911 operator, as far as she knows.
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