Sign Language Interpreter Reportedly Issued ‘Pizza’ Warning During Irma Update
A sign language interpreter at a Sept. 8 Manatee County meeting about Hurricane Irma reportedly confused some of his viewers, warning about “pizza” and later a “bear monster.”
The New York Times reported that the interpreter used was Marshall Greene, a lifeguard who has a deaf brother. He was a last-minute selection because there was little time to find one prior to the Board of County Commissioners meeting beginning.
The paper spoke to Julie Beacham-Hooie, who is deaf, in a phone interview with an interpreter.
“I was watching the interpreter and seeing him spelling and spelling and spelling, and not fully signing,” Beacham-Hooie said. “It was very hard to follow.” She said she was forced to ask others about where the hurricane was headed because she “had no idea.”
Howard A. Rosenblum, the chief executive of the National Association of the Deaf, said through an interpreter that it was “atrocious.”
“We believe that Manatee County failed to provide information to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to the same extent that it provided to all others,” he told the paper.
The county said through a spokesman that it is searching for a sign language vendor for future emergencies.