Grammy winning pop star Lizzo was called out by disability activists for using an ableist term in her new song.
Her newest single, “GRRRLS” includes the line:
“Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this sh*t? I’m a sp*z.”
While mostly recognized in the USA as a common slang term to mean “nerdy” or “klutzy,” the word is short for spastic. In other parts of the world it is recognized only as a slur that mocks disabled people with motor function or ambulatory disorders.
It's use in the UK and Australia is viewed to be as offensive as using the r-word slur—which mocks people with developmental disabilities—in the USA. As explained by NME, "spastic" comes from medical terms to describe disabilities that may cause spasms, like cerebral palsy or epilepsy.
Fans and disability activists took offense to Lizzo's use of the term.The single was released on June 10 and people—mostly from the UK and Australia—quickly called the singer out on social media over the weekend.
Lizzo heard the feedback and wasted no time in making things right.
Monday the singer announced a new version of the song will be released with the ableist term removed.
People were happy to see Lizzo own up to her mistake and take steps to correct it.
Still, some fans—almost exclusively from the USA—felt Lizzo didn't deserve any backlash and the song didn't need to be changed, blaming the reaction on "cancel culture."
It is no surprise she listened to disabled fans and activists—the people actually impacted—on this one.