On Valentine’s Day learning disability charity Mencap released this video showing people with a learning disability reacting to the question.
After Mencap released this video OkCupid has finally said they will delete the derogatory question.
Campaigners with a learning disability are calling for OkCupid to meet with them and work together to make OkCupid accessible for all.
This Valentine’s Day campaigners with a learning disability have received a present better than flowers or chocolates when dating website OkCupid’s CEO Elie Seidman finally agreed to delete a discriminatory question after almost a year of campaigning, as detailed in this statement on their website.
The announcement came after Mencap released this video of people with a learning disability reacting to the question alongside new research showing that 75% of the public find OkCupid’s question unacceptable for use on a dating site and 74% thought the question should be deleted, with a clear majority in favour of dating sites welcoming users with a learning disability.
Mencap first asked OkCupid to remove the question ‘Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?’ in May 2016, yet the website continued to refuse.
Campaigners have spoken out at their joy and relief that the question has been finally removed, however they have pointed out that OkCupid has failed to speak directly to campaigners with a learning disability or at any point apologised for the harm caused to people with a learning disability.
Mencap is urging OkCupid to meet with campaigners with a learning disability and work together to ensure that OkCupid is open and welcoming to people from all backgrounds.
Ciara Lawrence, Mencap Campaigns Support Officer who has a learning disability, said:
I was really happy when I heard that OkCupid’s CEO Elie Seidman had told journalists they would finally delete the question. But it was a bad and good moment, I am worried that even now OkCupid has never spoken directly to campaigners with a learning disability, answered our questions or said sorry for the harm this question has caused.
It makes me worry that OkCupid is just offering to delete the question to shut us up, rather than because they understand our concerns. I hope I am wrong and that OkCupid’s CEO Elie Seidman will meet me and finally answer my questions and talk about why this happened.
I hope that this is the first step on Mencap and OkCupid working together to make OkCupid open to people from all backgrounds, because everyone deserves the chance to find love, including people with a learning disability.
Rossanna Trudgian, Head of Campaigns at Mencap, said:
We are very pleased to see that Ok Cupid has finally agreed to delete this discriminatory question. It’s a huge step in the right direction, but there is a long way to go. It’s a shame that OKCupid has not acknowledged any of the concerns raised by people with a learning disability, or our research which shows that the public find this kind of question unacceptable for use on a dating website.
If OkCupid truly are dedicated to ‘promoting the interests of people with a who have been discriminated against’ they need to start listening to and communicating with campaigners with a learning disability. I urge OkCupid to keep to their word and meet with Ciara Lawrence and other campaigners, to really understand why people with a learning disability were so hurt by this question.
Other controversial questions found on OkCupid
- Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own skin colour/racial background? Yes or No?
- If one of your potential matches were overweight, would that be a dealbreaker? Yes or No?
- Could you date someone who used anti-depressants? Yes or no?
- The idea of gay and lesbian couples having children is: Acceptable/Not acceptable
Notes to editors
Mencap carried out research on over 1000 adults from across the UK:
- 75% of those researched thought that OkCupids use of the question ‘Would the world be a better place if people with a low IQ were not allowed to reproduce?' was unacceptable
- When asked about a selection of OkCupids most controversial questions the question which the highest percentage of people (75%) found unacceptable was the question about ‘low IQ’
- 74% of people think OkCupid should remove the question: ‘Would the world be a better place if people with a low IQ were not allowed to reproduce' from their website
- 62% of people thought that mainstream dating websites should be open and welcoming to people with a learning disability.
How important or unimportant do you think it is that mainstream dating websites should be open and welcoming to users with a learning disability?
Neither Important or not important
A dating website asks the below question, do you think the questions should be removed?
Would the world be a better place if people with a low IQ were not allowed to reproduce'
Do you think the below questions are acceptable or unacceptable to be asked on a dating website?
A question on whether the world be a better place if people with low IQ’s should be allowed to reproduce
A question about whether you would strongly prefer to go out with someone with your racial background
A question about whether you feel comfortable about gay and lesbian couples having children
A question about whether you would date someone on anti-depressants
Populus interviewed a random sample of 1059 GB adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 27th - 29th January 2017. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.
Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.