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I do have to thank Jason Rose for one thing. He reminded me this week that it’s time to register Sophie for the Special Olympics.

Over the weekend, Rose — who has been in public relations in Phoenix for as long as I’ve been in journalism (read:  a long time) — tweeted the following football/hockey commentary:

usc-ucla? Felt like was sitting at a newport beach yacht club. Coyotes? Midgets, special ed and axel rose wannabes nearby

Under the best circumstances, that tweet was ignorant and offensive. It’s also, let’s be honest, the kind of thing lots of people say every day. Mild, actually, compared to what I overhear all the time. Funny, I never much heard those things before I had a kid with Down syndrome. Now I can hear you whisper the word “retarded” a block away.

But here’s the “you can’t make that shit up” part. At the time, Jason Rose counted the Special Olympics of Arizona among his clients.


I say “at the time” because — per its zero-tolerance policy — the Special Olympics has already ditched Jason Rose.

My as-yet-unanswered question: Why did they hire him in the first place?

Jason is notorious in Phoenix. In the 20 years or so he’s been around, he’s represented some low lifes and done some pretty gross things. But I’ve usually gotten a chuckle out of him — he’s not a complete scum bag so much as a man with no moral compass. Jason’s never met a client he wouldn’t represent, and he’s a master at matching distasteful clients (if you live here you’ll recall the Joe Arpaio/Pink Taco mash-up) to create something truly disgusting — and headline worthy.

Not that there’s much worthy about most of Rose’s pursuits. He’s not as clever as he thinks, but he’s long had one trick up his sleeve that makes him all but irresistible to journalists: He always returns a message. Always. In a place where the state attorney general once refused to return calls from my newspaper for his entire 8-year-term (I’m not saying we didn’t deserve it, but still) that’s a rare and valuable thing.

And it means I’ve had a grudging respect for Rose. Til now.

Rose’s star seems to have quietly drifted downward in the past couple years. The last prominent client I can think of in his stable was Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon; Jason jumped up to represent him when it was revealed the mayor was having an affair with a lobbyist who was using her position to make money at the city’s expense. Only Rose would volunteer for a job like that. (Well, it’s Phoenix, so he’s not the only one…. But one of a select few.)

So I wasn’t so surprised to see his firm’s name on a Special Olympics of Arizona press release earlier this year. That’s vintage Jason Rose: Chuck yourself at the most altruistic endeavor you can find to balance out the sleaze. You’ll be irresistible.

Jason’s tweet just hit home — hard — for me the fact that he was using this organization to further his own cause. He couldn’t even be bothered to stop making fun of special needs kids.

Is Jason Rose irresistble now? His mantra has always been that there is no such thing as bad press, but can Rose be thinking that today? I’m guessing he’s thinking about lowering his rates.

I couldn’t resist emailing Jason my sarcastic congratulations yesterday and true to form, he emailed right back.

“My intent was the opposite,” he wrote.

Yeah, I bet it was.

As I was finishing this post, Jason called to apologize. I don’t think the call went as well as he hoped. I asked him to do the special needs community a favor and stay away from it. From us.

I will say this: I bet a lot of folks are going to think twice before making fun of special ed kids again anytime soon. In writing, anyway. So I guess I have Jason Rose to thank for that, too.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to register Sophie for track and field.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

11 Responses to “Jason Rose Can Best Serve the Special Needs Community By Staying Far, Far Away”

  1. Thank you for this. And fuck you, Jason Rose.

  2. Beautiful. :)

  3. As a one time equestrian coach for Az Special Olympics, I applaud your blog. As a long time acquaintance of Jason….well… hard to believe he would write anything that would negatively affect his client. As always, good to see someone called on the carpet for their actions.

  4. Love this….You go girl!

  5. Perfect response to a stupid remark whether he was being flippant or not. See, people are not stupid but sometimes what they say is. And this time, he hit the mark! Twitter can be a dangerous place.

  6. What an asshole.

  7. Spoken from your heart as he has tweeted from his….His next big client is Jim Lane…..nuff said.

  8. Exactly what I’ve been wondering: What was Special Olympics thinking? You hire a mean person don’t be surprised when acts mean. I’m glad they realized their mistake.

  9. I didn’t buy any of his explanations. He ducked and covered when we first asked him about the tweets over the weekend deleting the tweet rather than responding. And to say that he meant the opposite of what he said?!

    I hope that folks do learn that the intent behind Special Olympic’s Stop the R-word campaign is not to encourage people to substitute SpEd or any other equally abhorrent word for the R-word, but rather to encourage folks to see people with disabilities as full members of our society.

  10. You put it very well. At best it was a thoughtless remark, the kind – as you say – many people make every day. At worst… well he’s reaping his just reward. Life has a habit of swinging backwards as well as forwards, rather like political cycles.

  11. As always, you can speak well for so many of us. Thank you! :)

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