Autism Speaks could rightly be called one of the least popular organizations in the Disability community. One could stick a group of activists from all across the political spectrum in a room and no matter what political party they supported last election, they'd likely come to the unanimous conclusion that autism speaks offers little of redeeming value beyond a punching bag that unifies everyone in common hatred. This week, they proved why that is when the partnered with a group of white supremacists,

Autism Speaks fundraising faceplant

Autism Speaks recently partnered with a group called the Soldiers of Odin for a fundraising walk in Ontario, Canada.

Fundraising walks are a pretty normal activity for the organization. Usually, they partner with local community groups such as churches or labor unions. However, the partnership with the Soldiers of Odin caused a stir among some activists.

The Soldiers of Odin maintain they are simply a biker gang focused on community service. They run neighborhood watch programs. However, the group has roots with a Finnish Aryan group. It has been caught harassing refugees from the Syrian Civil War in both North America and Europe. It has also been accused of engaging in vigilantism. In 2006, a member of the organization, Jacob Laskey, was convicted of a hate crime when he vandalized a synagogue. The Anti-Defamation League has labeled it a hate group.

Why Autism Speaks has chosen to partner with them during a time when disability rights groups are trying to diversify what has historically been a white-dominated movement is anyone's guess.

Not the first time Autism Speaks has partnered with controversial people

Autism Speaks has long been a controversial organization. In addition to not having an autistic person on their board until fairly recently, they have been advocating finding a cure for autism, something that many people who have autism find offensive.

Especially since many of these "cures" are abusive and not founded on anything resembling science. They have partnered with the Judge Rotenberg Center, a school that has become infamous for electroshocking students. The school drew protests from civil rights groups late last year. Video of a student being shocked will be posted below.

It is graphic.


There are also worries that Autism Speaks stand about curing autism, rather than accepting it, is prompting parents to seek bunk treatments like bleach enemas or even forced ingestion of bleach. Their previous partnerships with anti-vaccination groups and tacit endorsement of anti-vaccination itself draws the ire of many disabled people.

When confronted by disability rights activists on their Facebook page about their partnership with the Soldiers of Odin, the organization said that they were "looking into it" but thus far, no action has been taken.