Anger at radio host shapes autism performance

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Writing for The Women’s Media Center, Emily Wilson tells how a mother’s outrage over conservative talk radio host Michael Savage’s comments on autism shaped the one-woman performance “Confessions of a Refrigerator Mother” she is giving in San Francisco.

Michael Savage, a San Francisco-based host known for railing against “hippies, communists and perverts,” labeled children with autism “brats” whose fathers need to tell them: “Don’t act like a moron.” After hearing of the remarks secondhand, Carolyn Doyle attempted to get Savage taken off the air and even contacted the radio personality directly.

Doyle decided to put that anger at Savage and his remarks into a show she was developing at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco, Confessions of a Refrigerator Mother, about daily life in her family with Joaquin (her son, who suffers from severe autism), her daughter Amelia and her husband Leo. The show plays through April, which is Autism Awareness Month.

“Michael Savage made me feel marginalized,” she says. “And I didn’t want to feel marginalized.”

Doyle says her show includes a humor and a personal perspective aimed at changing public perceptions of autism.

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