Stutterers oppose 'Vinny' portrayal and plan Academy Award protest

March 20, 1992|By Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- An advocacy group angered by the portrayal of an inept, stuttering criminal attorney in the Joe Pesci comedy "My Cousin Vinny" said it plans to disrupt the Academy Awards in protest.

"This is the worst portrayal of a stutterer that I have seen in years," Ira Zimmerman, advocacy chairperson of the National Stuttering Project wrote in a letter to James Edwards, owner of the Laguna Niguel theater where he saw the 20th Century Fox release.

He said Mr. Edwards should urge the studio either to give refunds to offended filmgoers or to put disclaimers in ads warning that the film "might offend persons who stutter or their loved ones."

In a telephone interview, Mr. Zimmerman said the San Francisco-based organization plans "a surprise" at the March 30 Oscar telecast partly because "Hollywood hasn't been very kind to us in the past" and also because of similar plans by gay-rights activists.

Mr. Zimmerman said actor Austin Pendleton, who has a stutter and portrays the attorney, "must have been hard up for the money" to accept the role.

Neither Mr. Pendleton nor Fox officials could be immediately reached for comment.

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