Belfast Telegraph

Jamie Foxx under fire for 'disrespecting' sign language

Jamie Foxx was seen making making random gestures reminiscent of sign language signals during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Jamie Foxx has been criticised for mocking sign language during a TV appearance.

The Academy Award winning actor made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday night (25May17), where he was promoting his new game show Beat Shazam.

As host Jimmy was throwing to a commercial break during their interview, Jamie started making random gestures reminiscent of sign language signals.

Accordingly, a number of people in the deaf community have expressed their disappointment at the behaviour, with deaf fashion model and Dancing with the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco calling him out.

"Jamie Foxx's behaviour with Jimmy Fallon on Fallon Tonight should not be tolerated anywhere," he wrote in a statement posted on his Twitter page on Saturday. "We simply do not make fun at the expense of other cultures especially those with a history of being marginalised. When we do this, progress takes a step backward."

Nyle added that making up sign language was "disrespectful" and offensive. The 28-year-old also explained that only two per cent of deaf people have access to education in the language, and he hoped that the star would now inform himself on the importance of signing.

"That is why I started Nyle DiMarco Foundation," he continued. "We are working with other organisations to ensure every deaf child has a usable language before the age of 5. What Foxx did on Fallon Tonight made our struggle that much harder."

Meanwhile, Oscar-winning actress and deaf activist Marlee Matlin also weighed in on Jamie's behaviour.

"Mr. @iamjamiefoxx. I'd be happy to give you sign language lessons so you could be funnier," she tweeted on Friday (26May17).

A representative for the Django Unchained actor has yet to comment on the backlash.

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