Jerry Lewis No Longer MDA Host or Chairman

Posted by Connie on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 1:34 am and is filed under News, Non-Profits.
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I learned through an email from the MDA, that Jerry Lewis in no longer the MDA Telethon Host or the National Chairman. The link led to a two paragraph press release on the Muscular Dystrophy Association website which gave no further information. It tersely states:

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announces that today Jerry Lewis has completed his run as its national chairman. In May, Lewis and MDA announced his retirement as host of the MDA Labor Day Telethon.

MDA Chairman of the Board of Directors, R. Rodney Howell, M.D., said, “Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon.”

I noticed that the MDA website no longer says, Welcome to MDA, Helping Jerry’s Kids. It now states, Welcome to MDA, Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Jerry Lewis

Does this seem to you as if the MDA Board of Directors fired Jerry Lewis? I’m aware of his controversial statements during telethons, especially when he used the derogatory term, “faggot” on the 2007 telethon. I dislike “Jerry’s Kids” when there are many adults living with muscular dystrophy and it feels as if we, as adults are put into the same category as kids. But, he has been the face of the MDA and especially of the Telethon, which helps to raise the bulk of the money for this organization.

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  1. I really can’t tell. Jerry’s health has been up and down over the past ten years, but it also seems they would have given him a bigger sendoff than that – AND that they would still call the beneficiaries “Jerry’s Kids,” even beyond the end of his tenure.

    He hasn’t really put a positive face on the MDA in a very long time. I remember the controversy in the 80s when the grown-up “Jerry’s Kids” said that he was doing absolutely nothing for them.

    Sounds to me like some old-fashioned “company restructuring.” Will there even be a telethon this year? Are telethons still effective when there are tons of CSI Labor-Day marathons to watch? Hmmm.
    Bellesouth recently posted..New favorite thing: Pie Rush Wednesday at Village InnMy Profile

    comment by Bellesouth — August 4, 2011 @ 9:24 am
  2. When the results of the six-hour mini-telethon are in, MDA will cancel it. The MDA gurus will wish they had done that this year. The telethon without Lewis–as old and sometimes off-base as he is–is not the same. He should have at least been given one final salute; now that’s been taken from him, and his fans will not respond to pleas this year.

    comment by George Waas — August 4, 2011 @ 10:18 am
  3. I’ll state here what I’ve already sent to the “chairman” and VP of Publicity at MDA, whatever the underlying reasons for this abrupt and dramatic change, it was handled VERY POORLY by MDA management. I’ll probably have to find another charity to give to. Nowadays, not an easy thing with all the corruption around.

    comment by Ron — August 4, 2011 @ 1:20 pm
  4. I agree Bellesouth. It seems like the Board of Directors could have handled this in a much better fashion. They won’t even allow him to sing his signature song at the end of this year’s telethon, which will only be six hours long. There were some issues with Jerry Lewis, but he put so much work, love and attention into the MDA that he has become the face of this nonprofit. It was handled very poorly.

    comment by Connie — August 7, 2011 @ 3:50 pm
  5. There is a huge backlash against the MDA for the way this was handled George. I’m a member and receive services from them, so I have nothing but good things to say about them. I do foresee the telethon ending and donations dropping this year and in the future. It’s just very sad.

    comment by Connie — August 7, 2011 @ 3:52 pm
  6. Ron, you are in the majority with your opinions. I’ve been watching the MDA Facebook page. There are lots of complaints and people stating that they will no longer donate or volunteer to the MDA. It’s a big mess.

    comment by Connie — August 7, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

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