American Idol Contestant James Durbin Mocked on YouTube
An upsetting video has been discovered on YouTube, mocking James
Durbin and his Tourette’s Syndrome. The video, which was uploaded on March 24,
2011 by an individual using the handle "jordans704," shows a 54-second
clip from this past Thursday’s American Idol results show in which James Durbin
can be seen making unusual facial expressions during an announcement by host
Ryan Seacrest. In the video, a female and a male can both be heard laughing and
chuckling in the background at Durbin’s expense. The clip shows close-ups of Durbin’s facial tics and is replayed several times, during which point he is repeatedly laughed at.
The video’s title is "AMERICAN IDOL JAMES DURBIN TURRETS FACES GOING NUTS!,"
with a description of: "hAD TO PUT THIS UP ON YOUTUBE IF ANYONE DIDNT ALREADY, KID CAN SING BUT MAN CAN HIS TURRETS MOVE!"
When I came across this video, I became extremely outraged as it is a perfect example of
the cruelty and teasing that millions of people with special needs have to
endure on a daily basis.
Durbin, who has been diagnosed with both Tourette’s and Asperger’s Syndromes, has
himself said in multiple interviews that he was severely teased and bullied
while growing up and this video clip is just a small taste of what he had to deal
with. We also wrote another story last month on Durbin and a visitor to our site posted the
I am from Santa Cruz, California. I know several people who know James, or who have kids who went to school with James. As the story goes, James was bullied horribly for his afflictions. I am not sure if he is on medication or what his deal is. But I know that the tourettes (sic) and Aspergers (sic) (which was not even named until 1994) were very visable (sic) in James while he was in school. I have heard stories from too many people.
James Durbin’s success on American Idol has created a tremendous amount of awareness for
both Tourette’s and Asperger’s and he is an inspiring example of someone who has
overcome severe challenges to accomplish great things. Unfortunately, as we can
see below, he has also exposed the ugliness, cruelty and ignorance that still
exist in our society when it comes to those with special needs.
UPDATE: 03/26/2011 @ 8:15 PM EDT — We are happy to report that the video in question has been removed by the YouTube user, presumably in response to the ovewhelming replies he/she received as a result of our article.
Thank you to all of you who posted their passionate feedback on “jordans704” YouTube page to let him/her know that bullying, teasing and harrassment of those with special needs will not be tolerated, regardless of who that person may be.
UPDATE: 04/08/2011 — The following message was posted on the wall of the YouTube account responsible for uploading the video mentioned in this story:
“This is nicks mother, the video was taken down. My son did not post it. His Uncle posted it and I took it down immediately. My son who is 10 does not make fun of ANYONE. i AM SORRY FOR THE hurt this has caused.”