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Rapper J Cole apologizes for insensitive lyrics about autism

J. Cole performs at the 2013 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten. REUTERS/Phil McCarten
J. Cole performs at the 2013 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

(Reuters) - An American rap artist who drew criticism for using a disparaging line about people with autism in a song lyric has apologized.

J Cole said he had removed the line, which referred to rivals as "autistic" and "retarded," from the song "Jodeci Freestyle."

"I want to educate myself more on Autism, and I'll gladly own my mistake and serve as an example to today's generation that there's nothing cool about mean-spirited comments about someone with Autism," J Cole wrote on his blog, DreamVillain.

"People with this disorder and their loved ones have to go through so much already, the last thing they need is to hear something as ignorant as what I said," he continued in the post, dated July 21. "I understand."

J Cole had performed the song with the rapper Drake, who has also apologized.

"This was a learning lesson for both of us, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to try to right this wrong," Drake posted on his website on Monday.

The lyrics drew criticism from people with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

After the song was widely publicized last month, the blogger Lou Melgarejo, whose daughter has autism, asked the two artists to consider the impact of their words.

"Ultimately, you are free to say/rap/sing whatever you want," he wrote in a post that was carried on the website of the advocacy organization Autism Speaks. "I am just asking that you please stop insulting those who often cannot defend themselves."

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Paul Simao)

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