Please join me in my letter writing campaign. Words do matter.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
3000 W. Alameda Avenue
Burbank, CA 91523
I watched your show for years but I can no longer do so. Why? Because words matter, Jay. Without fail, several times a week, you refer to women in the sex industry as “whores” or “hookers.”
Jay, did you know that most women, especially in lesser-developed nations, are sold into the sex industry, often by their own relatives? Did you know that right now, in India and probably many other counties, children as young as three are gang raped for profit and infected with HIV? That in the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is reportedly 13? That one study in Colorado found that prostitutes die at a crude mortality rate of 391 per 100,000 in comparison with non-sex workers, where the standardized mortality for the general population during this same time frame was 1.9 per 100,000? That every prostitute is someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother or mother?
Jay, using words like “hooker” and “whore” further desensitizes people who barely care when prostitutes die locked up in cages, are tortured, thrown from cars or are left dead near a river. Getting a cheap laugh at the expense of these victims, and yes, they are victims, is pathetic. I really hope you are better than that.
Please take time to educate yourself on the reality of the sex industry. If you took a few hours out of your life to learn the realities of the sex industry in this country and many others, I almost guarantee you would stop throwing those terms around. There is enough pain and suffering in the world without you casually contributing to it with your callous disregard for these victims.
Please refrain from using dehumanizing terms to refer to women and men, who by large numbers, have had few options in their lives.