Elon Musk sparks controversy after revealing he has Asperger's syndrome on 'SNL'
Elon Musk hosted "Saturday Night Live," and some comments from his opening monologue are stirring up controversy.
The Tesla CEO and "Technoking" appeared on stage in an all-black outfit to deliver his opening monologue on Saturday and began by saying that he doesn't always have a lot of intonational variation in how he speaks. He went on to assert that he was making history as "the first person with Asperger's to host SNL," for which he received a round of applause. "Or at least the first to admit it," he added.
The backlash began when viewers started calling out both that Musk isn't actually the first person with Asperger's syndrome to host the show and that the term "Asperger's syndrome" is outdated.
To the first point, former "SNL" cast member Dan Aykroyd, who hosted the show in 2003, has spoken about being diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in the '80s.
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"Lol Dan Aykroyd STARTED snl with Asperger’s, but nice try," one person tweeted.
"Dan Aykroyd is autistic and hosted SNL in 2003. In case anyone forgot," someone else added.
To the second point, according to Autism Speaks, Asperger's syndrome is a "previously used" diagnosis because in 2013 it became part of the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Related:The news that the term “Asperger’s syndrome” will soon cease to exist has some parents concerned – especially parents raising “Aspie” children. Starting May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association’s new diagnostic manual, known as the DSM-5, will go into effect, stripping the well-known condition – a condition sometimes associated with loner geniuses like Albert Einstein and And
Some people within the autism community expressed concern that Musk's using the term would perpetuate stereotypes about the condition. "Typical to strong verbal language skills and intellectual ability" can distinguish the syndrome from other types of autism, according to Autism Speaks.
"Elon Musk 'coming out' with Asperger's is way more dangerous to the Autistic community than most may think. At the very lowest form, outdated stereotypes like 'all autistic people are rain man' will be rife. There is absolutely no context to his diagnosis," one person wrote.
Others worried that his comments will obscure why "Asperger's" is no longer widely used.
"I always feel a little queasy about having to use 'Asperger' with some older/less informed healthcare providers when they are not up to date with the current terms. I mean, if you just google for 10 minutes, you get a good glimpse of all the baggage and problems of that word," explained another person.
Related:Here's what a psychologist would like parents to understand about autism spectrum disorder.
And some people also called out that Austrian pediatrician Dr. Hans Asperger, after whom the syndrome was names, was reportedly involved in the Nazi regime, citing this connection as another reason to stop using the term.
But many did feel Musk's announcement was positive for the community.
"Sometimes after I say something, I have to say, 'I mean that.' I don't much care for Musk, but I will say that this is a real aspect of being on the spectrum," tweeted another commenter, referencing a comment he made in his monologue. "Our society is so used to lying (even subtly), that we Aspies often distinguish."
"Such an awesome moment re representation of neurodivergent folks," some else added.
Apart from his autism revelation, Musk also joked about his and musician Grimes baby's unusual name, X Æ A-12, which Musk joked "is pronounced, 'cat running across keyboard.'" He also brought his mom, model Maye Musk, onto the stage and she quipped that she hoped her Mother's Day gift was not Dogecoin.
"It is," he responded.
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