A stutterers' rights group took aim Monday at perhaps the most famous stutterer of all--Porky Pig--by objecting to Warner Bros. reproducing the cartoon character's speech impediment in a holiday catalogue.
Ira Zimmerman of the National Stuttering Project said the catalogue advertising Warner Bros. merchandise insults people who stutter.
In the offending statement, Porky urges readers of the company's winter catalogue:
"D-d-d-don't delay. D-d-do your holiday shopping today."
Porky's stuttering in the cartoons is not offensive, Zimmerman said, but repeating letters to depict his stutter is.
"Everybody in the world knows Porky has a stutter," said Zimmerman, 51, who lives in San Juan Capistrano. "I don't believe everyone needs to be reminded of that. It is inappropriate to depict stuttering in print."
Zimmerman said that his own stutter never appears in print. Nor do quotes from Austrian-accented movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger usually look any different in print than those of, say, William F. Buckley, he said.
Zimmerman said stuttering in cartoons may even help more people understand the speech disorder. The pig could serve as an example to stuttering children that they are not alone, he said.
Zimmerman said he had received a letter from the studio apologizing if the portrayal offended him.
Karine Joret, spokeswoman for Warner Bros. Consumer Products, said the company had sent the letter and never intended the catalogue to demean Porky or any other stutterers.
The studio has no plans to withdraw the catalogue, she said, but the next edition will not include Porky or any other characters. The catalogue's format was changed before Zimmerman objected and the stuttering issue was not involved, she said.