On Monday, Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Fetterman, demanded an apology from NBC News after a recent interview with her husband raised questions about his mental health.
During an interview with NBC News reporter Dasha Burns last week, Fetterman required “unconventional” needs due to “lingering auditory processing issues” resulting from his stroke in May in order to participate in the interview. According to Burns, Fetterman even struggled with simple “small talk” before the interview started.
Burns told MSNBC’s Katy Tur that their new interview was “very different” than a previous one they had in May before Fetterman’s stroke. She said that Fetterman required a large computer screen for closed captioning so he could better understand and respond to her questions.
“He still has lingering auditory processing issues as a result of the stroke, which means he has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing. Now once he reads the question, he’s able to understand,” she explained. Burns added that Fetterman still “had a hard time understanding our conversations.”
Gisele Fetterman quickly responded to Burns’ comments by saying Burns should face “consequences” for revealing the help John Fetterman required to participate in the interview – during which he still struggled despite the assistance.
A few days later, Gisele Fetterman demanded an apology from Burns and from NBC News for revealing the “accommodations” John Fetterman needed and for pointing out that her husband still has not released medical records or provided a meaningful update on his recovery.
“If this happened in a school, if this was a child that was ableist towards another child or a teacher, there would’ve been issues stated. There would have been new training done,” Gisele Fetterman said in comments made to The Independent. “What is being done at the media after a reporter came out so openly ableist towards a person? I think shocked and appalled, but sadly not surprised. I know there’s still so much to do, but it would be great to see some accountability, to actually see real change.”
“And I would love to see an apology towards the disability community from her and from her network for the damage they have caused,” she continued. “We have received so many messages from folks who said, ‘This is exactly why I’m afraid to seek accommodations. This is exactly why I’m afraid to pursue a different position because of exactly what your husband has gone through.’ So I think he’s shown what he’s experienced, but a lot of people saw themselves in him.”