Voices

STAMMA launches a petition calling for greater representation of people who stammer in the media

To mark International Stammering Awareness Day, STAMMA and VMLY&R London launch ‘Not Just One Day’

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE

Share


Between 50-70 million people around the world stammer, including the current US President, Joe Biden. 8% of children will stammer at some point in their lives, and between 1-3% of adults say that they stammer. Yet in the media, stammering is rarely heard or tends to be portrayed negatively. 

To mark International Stammering Awareness Day on October 22nd, STAMMA, the British Stammering Association are launching a petition and supporting film calling for people who stammer to be visibly and authentically portrayed in the media. 

The campaign launches with a humous film, Not Just One Day, which follows the inner monologue of someone who doesn’t believe in petitions, finding them vague or unrealistic. The exception to this is the new petition from STAMMA, as it has a clear focus that will lead to actionable change. 

It is time to end the zero visibility of stammering. Until we hear and see people who stammer in the media, people will continue to respond inappropriately when they hear someone stammer. This is a legacy we can't leave our children,

Jane Powell, CEO, STAMMA

The film was created by brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R London and London-based film collective Acid News, with both teams containing talent who stammer. The film is voiced by a long-standing member of STAMMA, Paul Roberts, who has never been contracted for voiceover work before. 

“I can’t remember the last time I heard someone stammer in popular culture without it being their defining trait. So, when STAMMA called, I got excited. Then, as a man in his mid-twenties, I thought about how much I hate petitions,” explained Daniel Liakh, Creative, VMLY&R London. “So we made a film about the overpromise of most petitions... and how the humble and simple ask from STAMMA’s digital piece of paper will actually make a big difference.” 

In addition to the film, to encourage further conversations STAMMA has released a series of interviews asking people questions about the media representation of stammers, considering when the first or last time they saw someone on TV who stammered, and when they saw someone on TV who wasn’t talking about their own stammer. 

"It is time to end the zero visibility of stammering. Until we hear and see people who stammer in the media, people will continue to respond inappropriately when they hear someone stammer. This is a legacy we can't leave our children," said Jane Powell, CEO, STAMMA.

Over the next year, STAMMA will track how the media will include disfluent voices in their programming and what efforts they take to ensure that stammering is accounted for in all their recruitment and HR policies.

The petition has launched on change.org and is aimed at 11 major media agencies and calls upon them to ensure that people who stammer are represented across all media channels. To sign the petition and show support please click here.