Actor’s horror as disability hate crime ‘comes knocking on the door’


A leading disability hate crime campaigner has blamed the government’s anti-benefits rhetoric for a verbal attack on the partner of a wheelchair-using Coronation Street actor.

Cherylee Houston, who plays Izzy Armstrong in the soap, revealed on Twitter this week that a stranger had knocked on her door while she was out and told her partner that she was a “benefits cheat”.

She tweeted: “Wow disability hate crime knocked on our front door today literally. Scary as shows how much our country’s instinct is to hate not think.”

The man had apparently seen Houston, who has a fluctuating condition, walk a few steps to her wheelchair.

He told her partner that he had taken a photograph of her and was going to report her because she was “on the fiddle”.

Houston tweeted: “He was very rude to Toby and obviously disgusted that I wasn’t paralysed. Said it wasn’t right and he was going to papers. Vile. Ignorant.”

Following support from other Twitter-users, she said she was “a little shaken” after being told by her partner what had happened.

Anne Novis, a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, and the independent chair of the Metropolitan police’s disability hate crime working group, said: “It is evidence of what we have been saying for the last 10 years.

“Although we had some of this [type of hate crime]at lower levels previously, we have seen a lot more since the coalition’s welfare reforms, using the language of government ministers and the cuts to attack disabled people.

“The scapegoating mentality we get from ministers and some media articles seems to give permission to the general public to say the same things.”

She said that if ministers, who were supposed to be “role models”, were describing disabled people as “unsustainable”, that kind of language was “going to be used against us”.

Novis said it was common for people to think that wheelchair-users cannot walk at all, even though most – like Houston – can walk at least a few steps.

  • User Ratings (18 Votes)
  • srgc2731

    disability doesnt exist within the uk anymore
    disabled and long term ill are being put straight onto jobseekers under the ” capability ” test
    virtually impossible to score the required points unles you are paraplegic

  • brianb49

    This situation will not improve until the government changes its attitude towards us, and even then it will take years to turn it around. The Lib Dems are equally culpable, Almost the first thing the coalition did was to announce what a load of scroungers (that’s the word they used) we disabled folk are. The evil chris grayling was allowed to tell lies and release false figures to the right wing media without the lib-dems uttering a single squeak of protest. Then Neo-Fascist gideon osborne, again without a challenge from within the government or new labour, attempted to engineer his own Kristallnacht by encouraging the “hard working” to take note of windows where curtains were still closed when they went to work.
    My disabilities cause me to have trouble falling asleep. My curtains are often still drawn when those who are able to obtain a job pass by on their way to work. Within two weeks of osborne whipping up the public’s hatred I experienced overt hate crime for the first time. Despite disabled people lobbying mp’s of all parties about the disrespectful, degrading, and sometimes fatal treatment we were experiencing at their hands, the first time atos was mentioned in the house of commons was when a tory told a joke about atos’ inefficiency being equal to that of some government department. Members of all parties roared with laughter, those who did not laugh did not challenge. Meanwhile, in one of the committee rooms mp’s were hearing from other mp’s the first reports of atos’ role in the deaths of sick and disabled people. This was not reported by printed or broadcast media. I watched these things as a member of a group of Disability Activists. When they were not reported I thought I had imagined them, my sanity was saved when I discovered that another member of the group had seen the same things. Even the majority of the Major Disability Charities would not notice the hate crime till it was well established. With so little Government cash on offer none of them wanted to bite the hand of their benefactors.
    Raising public awareness has achieved very little. Folk are so pre-occupied with their own survival in this fascist, greedy, selfish society created by, and fed with dishonest propaganda by cameron, osborne, and duncan-smith, that they no longer look at us disableds. With the encouragement of the aforementioned politicians and their tame media, we are scrounging thieves taking food out of the mouths of them and their children. The media in particular has convinced them that we live in a dog eat dog world where the sick and disabled are the easiest to hunt down and punish.
    This government has taken public attitudes towards the sick and disabled back over forty years to the 1970’s, and when they (this government) are eventually overturned, and, because we were forced to fight alone without the support of politicians, the media, and our own mp’s while negativity towards us took root in the psyche across all generations , it will that time again before things improve for the hated, despised, Disabled community in the UK.