**UPDATE: Issue has been resolved.**
Whether they intend to or not, I am tired of certain shows censoring the closed-captions, while you can hear the supposedly censored words. For example, I clearly could hear someone somewhat cursing on a television show, while it was censored in the captions. Either the word is substituted with another word that is not as offensive or the word is just not mentioned at all. This is a problem because when the captioning is censored while the spoken version is not, it intentionally leaves the deaf or hard of hearing person out. It tells me that I am not important enough to know exactly what was said, even if it was something offensive. I have the right to be included like everyone else.
If this is a mistake, they should fix it. Perhaps the captioning was done a long time ago before some words became acceptable on some shows. But, what about the new shows? What are their reasons? If they are intentionally censoring the captions, I would like to know why. Is it the captionist that refuses to type bad words? Are they really afraid of offending deaf and hard of hearing people or others who rely on captioning?
I am not against censoring when both spoken and captioned are censored. But, it is not fair if they are going to only censor captioned words that can be clearly heard by others.
I received an email from Scott about this issue. He sent a letter to AMC networks asking them to quit censoring only the closed-captions. He would like me to share his letter here. Perhaps this will inspire others to do the same.
℅ Corporate Secretary
11 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
July 24, 2011
Dear AMC Chairperson,
I write to you today as I, and many other Deaf/Hearing Impaired [D/HI] individuals, have never received a reply to our complaints to AMC via e-mail or U.S.-mail. The few individuals that have, received a, in my opinion, foolish response. My name is Scott Johnston, I live alone, and have multiple disabilities due to Neurofibromatosis Type Two. The main reason I write you is in regards to my 100% deafness and the way you edit closed captioning.
I have enjoyed many of your original series such as Rubicon, The Killing, and The Walking Dead, just to name a few. One very large exception being the censoring on the Closed Captioning. I hated the seemingly extreme nature of the censoring on the captioning and how some words with dual meanings are doubly censored. An example of that double censoring would be, "hand me a golf b----." I found out, by posting a comment regarding my frustration on TVGuide.com, that the sound was not censored for the hearing public. Upon searching via Google, I found others with the same complaint. There is even a Facebook group created and dedicated, to this issue, http://www.facebook.com/groups/amctvhatesdeaf.
Upon learning this discrimination I immediately stopped watching The Killing and will wait for the DVD which, if similar to The Walking Dead, will be uncensored in its Closed Captioning. I will be doing the same for the upcoming The Walking Dead second season. I will rent and not buy these as I will not, directly or indirectly, support a network that holds the D/HI in such a low regard. Basically AMC is saying to the D/HI, "D/HI people have to be protected. It's obvious they don't have the maturity and intelligence to see the big-person words. Please tell them to go away and leave the adults and hearing children alone."
Which leads me to the ridiculous reasons other have been given, "Children might be watching". By that logic, the sound would also be censored to "protect" the hearing children. I have 10-15 hearing friends & relatives that boycott Burger King and Taco Bell as national chains that do not caption their commercials. I am in the process of notifying people of this issue as well. If you multiply that possibility by multiple millions of D/HI across the country and world alone, that is a huge dent on your ratings potential.
In closing I ask this be corrected soon. I'm 40, I may not drink, smoke or do drugs, but that is my choice. I don't care if others do or not. If a word is spoken, it needs to be transcribed. I have multiple disabilities and I despise being perceived as being somehow an inferior person. Watch Breaking Bad or some other show with the sound turned off, and I am sure you will see what I mean.
Scott E. Johnston