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GOP Colorado Lawmaker Compares Disabled People To 'Running Of The Bulls' In Ableist Rant

State Rep. Richard Holtorf made the incendiary comments while arguing against a bill that would add protections for disabled people from discrimination in public places.

Colorado Channel screenshot of Richard Holtorf
The Colorado Channel

Colorado Republican State Representative Richard Holtorf has come under fire for his recent remarks about the protection of individuals with disabilities. Holtorf spoke out against HB23-1032, a bill designed to clarify the remedies for individuals with disabilities under Colorado's anti-discrimination laws.

Instead of expressing his disagreement with the bill's contents, Holtorf used a bizarre comparison, stating that Colorado doesn't need additional protections because of Spain's lack of liability protection for those injured during the "Running of the Bulls" festival in Pamplona.

During his statement, Holtorf suggested that those who are "dumb enough" to get hurt "in the ring" should "own it," seemingly advocating for the idea that those with disabilities should not be protected from discrimination in public spaces.

You can hear what Holtorf said in the video below.

Holtorf said:

"If you're dumb enough to get on this road and run the eight blocks, ten blocks and run in the ring and you get hurt, you own it. And that's Spanish law."
"There's no liability, there's no lawsuits, you don't get to do any of that. Because you're responsible for the risks that you take in this running of the bulls."

Holtorf's remarks were met with criticism, including from the author of the bill he was criticizing, State Democratic Representative David Ortiz.

Ortiz, who became paralyzed while serving as a helicopter pilot in the Army, called Holtorf's remarks "ableism and ignorance" and stated that they were against the "basic human rights" of individuals with disabilities.

Others were also quick to criticize Holtorf for his ableist remarks.

As of now, it is unclear if Holtorf will face any consequences for his comments. However, his remarks have sparked outrage among disability rights activists, who argue that his comments are a prime example of the ableism that is still prevalent in society.

These activists assert that individuals with disabilities have a right to protections against discrimination, and that Holtorf's comments are a dangerous attempt to undermine those rights.