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Lizzo Slammed For Using Ableist Slur In New Song

Photo: Ben Houdijk | Cubankite | Shutterstock
Lizzo

Lizzo has come under fire for using an ableist slur in her new single, prompting fans to ask her to take the single down or change the lyric.

Released on Friday, Lizzo's single 'Grrls,' features a slur derived from the word "spastic" within the song's first verse. "Hold my bag, b-ch, hold my bag / Do you see this s-t? I’m a sp-z.”

In the U.K., the term is considered a slur, though the term has been condemned by disability advocates around the world.

According to Collins Dictionary, the word is an "offensive" and "old-fashioned" term for a person with cerebral palsy.

Lizzo's use of the slur has been branded 'ableist.'

Following the song's release, ahead of Lizzo's upcoming album release, fans and disability activists took to social media to express their anger, urging the singer to remove the song altogether.

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Hannah Diviney, a disability advocate, tweeted directly to Lizzo, writing: "My disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad."

Another advocate, Callum Stephen, wrote on Twitter: "There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022. As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.”

Australian disability service provider Aruma explained why people should remove the word spastic from their vocabulary, saying that it is often used to "insult someone, or to call someone or something stupid or uncoordinated."

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"It’s hurtful and derogatory. These words suggest people with a disability are stupid or flawed. We understand that sometimes people don’t mean them in this way, but they still cause people pain and reinforce negative stereotypes."

U.K. Tiktoker, Jeffie, who describes themselves as "disabled" in their bio, shared a video explaining that keeping the word in the song would mean that such a derogatory term "is used by even more people in their everyday lives which causes further harm to disabled people."

   

   

"Stop telling disabled people not to feel angry or hurt. Dismissing our valid feelings makes you complicit," they added.

Lizzo is not the first artist to use the term in a song and face backlash from fans.

Back in 2019, rapper Bhad Bhabie faced similar criticism from both fans and disability advocates for releasing a song titled 'Sp-z.' Similarly, Weird Al Yankovic apologized in 2014 for his reference to "spastics" in his single 'Word Crimes.'

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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