CHICAGO, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- During an interview with the British music magazine NME, American pop icon Lady Gaga called recent accusations of plagiarism "retarded."
Ms. Gaga, an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community, has since apologized, acknowledging that her use of the word undermines the social causes with which she frequently associates.
"I consider it part of my life's work and music to push the boundaries of love and acceptance," said Gaga in a statement released through celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. "To anyone that was hurt, please know that it was furiously unintentional."
She continued: "Whether life's disabilities left you outcast, bullied or teased, rejoice and love yourself today."
Gaga's flippant use of "retard" is indicative of how casually the word exists in the English language. To measure how frequently it's used would be nearly impossible, but TheSocialChallenge.org has been using one particular platform to track its use: Twitter.
Visitors to the site can see the live stream of tweets containing the word, and can send messages asking the tweeters to reconsider their choice of words in the future.
TheSocialChallenge.org has demonstrated that when engaged, like Lady Gaga, users of the word "retard" are likely to apologize.
"It's really unfortunate when someone with as much influence as Lady Gaga uses that word," said Holly Roos, an advocate for TheSocialChallenge.org, and a mother of two children with Fragile-X syndrome.
"But through The Social Challenge, in just over a month, we've actually had hundreds of people tweet back with apologies, pledging not to use the word in the future. It's a great opportunity to make a difference, and I'm really glad to see that Lady Gaga thought better of her words, too."
This month Gaga was an attendee at an event in Paris for the Best Buddies Association, an international nonprofit advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities.
TheSocialChallenge.org is a project that believes all people deserve the same rights and freedoms; that all individuals with developmental disabilities can be best served in the community with the right supports and services; and that advocacy can change lives.