The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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Response to Don Francisco of Sabado Gigante

In April 2013, NDSS contacted executives at Univision after learning that host Don Francisco made a very demeaning comment about people who have Down syndrome during the popular show Sabado Gigante in which he referred to a dog that was not behaving and not paying attention as having Down syndrome, "the dog seems to have Down syndrome."

In June 2013, we were very pleased to see Don Francisco's apology on the show and that he brought on the show a very talented young woman from Puerto Rico that has Down syndrome. Below is the video and an English translation.

Apology on Sabadao Gigante

English Translation:
DF- Large Applause for Pura Maria. Welcome.  I am going to tell you a little bit about her. Young Puerto Rican lady, only daughter, graduated with a  Business Administration degree, with a high GPA and today works for the newspaper El Vocero, where she writes a column titled Syndrome Doesn’t Give Up.  She also studies Drama because she aspires to be an actress.  She is a fighter and is one of 5,000 people born with Down syndrome in the United States every year. Please give her a round of applause.  Pura Maria, you already told me that you are not nervous.
PM- No I am not nervous.
DF- You always write an article in the newspaper?
PM- Yes, I always write in El Vocero of Puerto Rico.  I write about psychology.
DF- And you are about to write a book?
PM- Exactly, I am currently writing a book.
DF- You are here in the program to present your book?
PM- Exactly
DF- What is the name of your book?
PM- The title of my book is Mi Vida (My Life)
DF- Your life?
PM- Exactly
DF- And in this book you will write about your life?
PM- It’s about going to the University and how difficult it was at first.  So that people can see how difficult it was for me.
DF- It was difficult for you to go to the University?
PM- It was difficult for the teachers to accept me as well as others, but I kept at it, did not give up, I wanted to graduate and was able to.
DF- I congratulate you for coming to the program.    I hope you become an actress. I hope you return once you finish your book. Please give Pura Maria a round of applause for her and her families accomplishments. The great job her family did in integrating her. She has made huge efforts and continues to do so daily to make a better world and a better world for people with Down syndrome. I also invited you because the other day, I made a bad joke, a joke in reference to Down syndrome. First of all I would like to tell everyone that it was never my intention to offend anyone.  I ask for forgiveness and I apologize for what I did a few weeks ago.  In the haste of improvisation, I committed an error.  I admire Pura Maria, and I have worked for many years with people with disabilities and will continue to do so, fighting for integration for anyone with any kind of disability.  I reiterate my congratulations to Pura Maria, and to anyone who was offended, I apologize once again for the bad joke. Thank you Pura Maria for coming to the show.

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