NC 911 dispatchers criticized for video parody of sign language interpreter

Lumberton officials acknowledged their employees were in the video and called the incident a “serious error in judgment”


By Simone Jasper
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

LUMBERTON, N.C. — Two 911 dispatchers made a “serious error in judgment” when they filmed a parody of an American sign language interpreter, North Carolina officials say.

Video of the fake Hurricane Dorian press conference shows one of the Lumberton workers giving warnings about the storm while the other mimics sign language, reports ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

She can be seen making hand gestures in the video that was shared on social media, according to The Daily Moth, a website that covers news and issues that impact the deaf community.

The mock sign language was actually “gibberish,” the news site reports.

And the workers’ video soon drew criticism.

Amy Cohen Efron, an activist, said the segment was in “very poor taste,” The Daily Moth reports.

Josie Croteau, who is an interpreter in Robeson County, was “outraged” and said the skit caused confusion because people thought it was real, according to ABC11.

“To me, it was incredibly offensive,” she told the station.

One of the workers removed the post from her Facebook profile after it was shared hundreds of times, The Robesonian reports.

Lumberton officials in a statement provided to The News & Observer acknowledged their employees were in the video and called the incident a “serious error in judgment.”

One of the employees has been working for the city 16 years and the other for five, Emergency Services Director Bill French told The Robesonian.

The workers have apologized, and the city plans to offer training from the state Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

“The City of Lumberton attempts to support the deaf and hard of hearing in every way, and even has a service committee the sole purpose of which is to advance the causes of all persons with disabilities,” according to the statement.

 
911 Employee apologizes for signing gibberish in parody interpreter video

911 Employee apologizes for signing gibberish in parody interpreter video

Posted by The Daily Moth on Friday, September 6, 2019

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©2019 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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