White House Interpreter Loses Role for Being a 'Trump Supporter'
Heather Mewshaw canceled after Time Magazine article
White House sign-language interpreter Heather Mewshaw, who was outed by TIME magazine last month for being a supporter of Donald Trump, said she had not been asked to return to her role.
Mewshaw, who worked as an independent contractor for the White House last year, blasted critics who attacked her professionalism and credibility.
She said the Biden administration had not contacted her since the Time magazine report, which exposed her wearing a MAGA hat and running an online group that “provides sign language accompaniments to right-wing videos.”
“For some members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, the inclusion of Mewshaw in kicking off the new White House initiative soured what should have been purely a moment of excitement."
“The goal of my activity — at the White House or with Hands of Liberty — is that it’s all about access,” Mewshaw told The New York Post.
“The thing is, I was canceled and humiliated publicly, and it was unjust and unfair,” Mewshaw added.
Mewshaw, who is a married mother of four, said she was “harassed” and “intimidated” online for providing Sign Language translation for the Hands of Liberty Facebook group and Right Side ASL.
Gather round folks. I have a story to tell you about the interpreter in the current White House Briefing.— Jon Henner (@jmhenner) January 25, 2021
This is her. In the Trump/Pence shirt and the MAGA hat. https://t.co/go0FXMIfw8 pic.twitter.com/W89RErON5X
One video featured former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani titled “What Really Happened On January 6th?” and another featuring Dr. Stella Immanuel, who promoted hydroxychloroquine.
Mewshaw, who said she does not necessarily agree with everything she translates, said she volunteers work from people who want to see speeches by Republican politicians and other conservative figures.
Mewshaw said that her critics “don’t want this content to be interpreted because they don’t believe in it.
“Deaf people just want a chance to decide for themself what information is out there,” she said.
Mewshaw pointed to remarks last year by David Cowan, who translated speeches by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and noted a “double-standard” for conservative ASL interpreters.
“To me, it doesn’t matter — Democrat or Republican, gay or straight. I’m there to provide a service and deliver a message to deaf people,” Cowan told Atlanta magazine.
Mewshaw said she paid “about $20” to buy a red “Keep America Great” hat for a video titled “Thank You President Trump from the Right Side ASL Team!”
Other attacks on Mewshaw came in the form of a Change.org petition that’s garnered nearly 9,000 signatures and tweeted from deaf model and actor Nyle DiMarco, who wrote:
“Imagine what harm she could cause.., literally holding the message in her hands.”
DiMarco's tweet has since been deleted.
University of North Carolina education professor Jon Henner said Mewshaw working for the White House was "problematic," claimed she "wasn’t interested in canceling her.”
“The past couple of weeks have shown a lot of discussion on the topic about if signed language interpreters can really ‘play for both teams’ so to speak, especially if they have strong feelings either way,” Henner wrote in an email Sunday.
“Regarding Mewshaw, it’s unfortunate that she did not predict the reaction that she would get from many people in the community given her previous interpreting choices.”