Autism Speaks Legally Threatens Autistic Adults During World Autism Day

For the second time I’ve received a legal notice through a product manufacturer that Autism Speaks has taken down my items meant to show autistic people disapproving of the way they don’t actually include autistic people in their mission.  The items for sale have the words Autism Speaks with Autism crossed out and your name substituted for Autism.  They then say, I have Autism. I can speak for myself.  An example items is below.  Click to enlarge.



Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 4.14.30 PMToday I received the emails below from Zazzle indicating they were removing the items on the basis of a copyright complaint. With it being World Autism Day this is a great way for Zazzle and Autism Speaks to treat an autistic individual who advocates for themselves.

UPDATE: My Reply to Zazzle

I just send an email to Zazzle requesting a copy of the complaint that Autism Speaks has filed an an address in which I can send a counter notification indicating my product is covered under fair use provisions specifically Criticism and Commentary provisions of the fair use provisions.  Below is that email.


After my response to Zazzle on the takedown they have restored access and the items are now once again available to purchase.  Thank you to Zazzle for the quick response.


13 Replies to “Autism Speaks Legally Threatens Autistic Adults During World Autism Day”

  1. I just wanted to relay, that based on a video I watched earlier today, Autism Speaks has hired Kerry Magro as a spokesperson and advocate for them. He is a college graduate who was diagnosed with a form of autism as a child. I think the group can now say they have someone on staff who has autism, where they had difficulty with that previously. Good luck with your redesign ~ Blessings! <3

  2. Kathy, could you make it any more clear that Magro is just a shield for A$? Crowing on a blog post about A$ silencing Autistics. When John Elder Robison left A$’s last shred of dignity left it.

  3. How tragic that Autism Speaks is so insecure regarding their position in regards to autistic rights that they must attack in this way, rather than improving their message. Oh, and Kathy? One recently hired person on a staff of hundreds does NOT count as inclusion. That’s having a “token,” and that mentality was exactly why John Elder Robison left after a year of being ignored while being waved around as their “nuh, uh! See, we have a pet!” argument against those noting the lack of inclusion or awareness of people with autism as…. people (gasp) rather than some sort of subhuman burden.

  4. Well..I for one would purchase this button. Free speech and all that?….
    We NEED awareness, not research, clearly the billions being spend on this so called research is producing nothing.
    Look up the meaning of Autism. Stop trying to fix Autism.
    Acceptance is needed.

  5. so…neo-nazis can publish websites and use hate speech against Jews, because of “free speech”, but autistics can’t speak out for their human rights against their oppressors? How effed up is that?

  6. So sad that Autism Speaks is so ridiculous. I agree with the above comments that one person on their staff does not make anything better, especially when I’m sure he too will catch on to their bulls**t and leave. My senior project is all about autism awareness and through all my research I haven’t found one redeeming quality in Autism Speaks. I agree that people of the autism community are far better advocates than anyone else.

  7. “Spokesperson” is nowhere near “board member.” Why does an advocate group need an advocate? That tells you everything you need to know about A$ right there.
    The buttons clearly broke no laws. These kinds of back and forth letter battles are taxing. Stay strong and–one way or another–keep making them because they are great.

  8. I am so happy you are pursuing this and not just rolling over. This completely falls until Free Speech Fair Use and it’s SHAMEFUL that Autism $peaks would try and squash it. I suspect it will backfire badly for them and get more attention than a few people wearing buttons ever would have gotten had they left it alone. I found this online but I sincerely hope you have contacted more news media about it. They think they OWN the media. Lets prove them wrong!!!

  9. Furthermore, in the button you show here, the name Autism is crossed out to the point that it is a trick of the mind that a person can read the word at all. No foul, even if there were no Fair Use provision.
    If they still won’t let you sell it, perhaps changing the S in Speaks to a $ dollar sign, which many of us do to point out that they are all about the money, will allow you to resubmit the button as a new item.

  10. Autism Speaks also has an official policy that “it is philosophically inappropriate” for Medicaid to be used to fund the treatment of autism.” They know that Medicaid is the ONLY funding source available to many (perhaps most) children with autism, even after their relentless campaign to take away access to Medicaid funding (which had been a Civil Right until the various State laws promoted by Autism Speaks were passed that took away that right to treatment funding via the EPSDT mandate of the Medicaid Act). The least they could do is stop opposing access to Medicaid funding; Autism Speaks is helping to make Medicaid EPSDT funding “the greatest treatment funding secret ever concealed.” Documentation of Autism Speaks position against Medicaid is readily available.

  11. This is why I stopped giving to any charity. I do not like that they are tax exempt and may or may not be helping the people they claim to. Charities have become big business, also, so called non-profits and churches. They are all in it for profit- that is why we now have 18 Trillion in debt because no one is paying their far share in taxes.

  12. Something I wrote in honour of Sesame Street teaming up with Autism Speaks:

    Sunny day, everything’s A-OK
    Then, on the horizon, dark clouds I see
    Can you tell me how to get, get away from Autism Speaks?

    Sunny day, chasing our cares away
    Then, in Canton County, dead kids I see
    Can you tell me how to get, get away from Autism Speaks?

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