Nyle DiMarco and Marlee Matlin would like to teach Jamie Foxx a few things about sign language. DiMarco, who competed on and won the 22nd season of Dancing with the Stars, became extremely upset after Foxx appeared to mock sign language during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In the clip, the popular late-night host is seen laughing along with Foxx as he performs fake sign language.
The incident occurred during a teaser for an episode of the late night show. Foxx moved his hands to make gestures in a nonsensical manner, causing an outraged DiMarco to slam him for his “disrespectful” dig at the deaf community.
Nyle, who first made headlines after winning America’s Next Top Model and then as the first deaf male ever to compete on Dancing with the Stars, posted a snippet of the promo to Twitter with a message directly to Foxx:
“It is straight up disrespectful to make up sign language,” DiMarco wrote. “Everything is in gibberish.”
In a comment on the post, Nyle DiMarco also asked Jimmy Fallon why such behavior was allowed on his NBC late night show.
“How was this allowed?” Nyle asked Fallon.
“Where’s the cultural sensitivity. Not comedy when you make fun of others.”
A fired-up Nyle DiMarco also posted a lengthy response to Jamie Foxx’s actions on Twitter, accusing the Oscar-winning star of hurting the efforts of his Nyle DiMarco Foundation. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure that every deaf child will have access to sign language education by age 5. DiMarco added that currently, only 2 percent of the deaf community has access to education in sign language.
“Jamie Foxx’s behavior with Jimmy Fallon on Fallon Tonight should not be tolerated anywhere,” Nyle wrote. “We simply do not make fun at the expense of other cultures, especially those with a history of being marginalized. When we do this, progress takes a step backward. What Foxx did on Fallon Tonight made our struggle that much harder.”
In addition to Nyle DiMarco, actress and Dancing with the Stars Season 6 contestant Marlee Matlin had her own message for Foxx. The Academy Award-winning actress posted a message to social media revealing that she would like to personally teach Jamie Foxx sign language.
“@iamjamiefoxx I’d be happy to give you sign language lessons so you could be funnier,” Matlin wrote.
Jamie Foxx’s sign language spoof clearly didn’t go over well with the deaf community, but the actor has not yet commented on the hoopla. Even more surprisingly, Fallon has not made a statement either. However, according to Entertainment Weekly, NBC has reached out to Nyle DiMarco in the aftermath of his public response to Foxx’s antics. Also, the network told EW that the promo was aired “sparingly” after DiMarco expressed his displeasure about the spot on social media.
Nyle DiMarco has long been an advocate for sign language education — and not just for adults like Foxx, either. Earlier this year, Nyle recorded a personalized sign language video for his Dancing with the Stars pro partner, Peta Murgatroyd, as a gift to her after she gave birth to her first child, Shai Aleksander.
In the video, Nyle explained his unique gift in sign language while his translator spoke.
DiMarco explained that teaching a baby sign language will improve the child’s cognitive and emotional development and increase the rate of verbal development. Nyle also said it helps mom and baby to bond.
For now, though, Nyle DiMarco and Marlee Matlin would like to school Jamie Foxx on sign language etiquette.
[Featured Image by Craig Barritt/Getty Images]