Deaf VRS users post videos of them harassing interpreters
A person sent “The Daily Moth” two screen recordings of two different Deaf people calling Sorenson VRS interpreters to harass them.
The first video showed a male calling a SVRS female interpreter. The interpreter asks if he is ready to call, but the Deaf user asks the interpreter to twerk (show her butt and dance). The interpreter doesn’t understand at first. The Deaf user repeatedly asked her to twerk, then the video cuts out.
The second video showed another male calling a male SVRS interpreter. The male was holding what appears to be a marijuana blunt and offered the interpreter it. The interpreter asks if he is ready to make a call, but the Deaf person ignores him and continues to offer the blunt. This continues until the video stops.
Both videos were posted on a closed Facebook group with almost 15,000 members called “Deaf World Kiss Fist Vloggers.”
I reached out to the founder of the page, Joseph Kolb, and asked him if the videos would be taken down because it could be considered sexual harassment or harassment.
Kolb said the interpreters should be the ones who report the harassment and that it has absolutely nothing to do with him or DWKFV.
I asked if the videos would be taken down based on sexual harassment.
Kolb said he didn’t hear any complaints from SVRS interpreters but that if the company contacts him, maybe he will take it down.
I reached out to Sorenson and they provided a comment.
“VRS is an important communication resource and should not be abused or used for personal entertainment. Harassing or abusing interpreters in any way is a violation of our user agreements. These actions are a waste of resources and taxpayer funds. Sorenson takes abusive calls very seriously and has an internal process to address them immediately. We hope and encourage VRS users will partner with interpreters to ensure a successful call experience. We are currently communicating with those involved in the video.”
Thank you for commenting.
One anonymous person familiar with the VRS industry told me that interpreters often deal with abuse from customers.