Campaigners are petitioning Netflix to censor a comedy special containing ‘hate speech’

Comedian Tom Segura's controversial joke has been criticised by organisations including the Canadian Down Syndrome Society

Netflix is facing calls to censor a new comedy special which features alleged “hate speech” against people with Down Syndrome.

In his Netflix special Disgraceful, US comedian Tom Segura delivers a riff on the use of the word “retarded”.

After maligning the fact that it’s no longer socially acceptable to use the word “retarded” as a substitute for something stupid or foolish, Segura adds: “Now you’ve gotta be like, ‘That’s not… smart. Your idea has an extra 21st chromosome, if you ask me.’ It’s not the same.”

Segura’s punchline mocks the fact that Down Syndrome often arises when a person is born with a partial or full third copy of their 21st chromosome.

The controversial riff has been criticised by organisations including the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, who branded Segura’s language “offensive and disrespectful”. Meanwhile, Change.org petition called “Take it down, Netflix” has been launched.

The petition urges the streaming giant to “remove the anti-down syndrome rhetoric from the show,” “take the anti-disability sketch out of the trailer for the show,” and “issue a public apology for perpetuating hate speech and stereotype to the Down Syndrome community”.

At the time of writing, the petition has attracted more than 47,000 signatures. Netflix has yet to respond to complaints about Segura’s language in the special.