Former White House sign language interpreter Heather Mewshaw says she hasn’t heard from the Biden administration after being “canceled” and outed as a Trump supporter. She has also translated for conservative social media groups in the past.
Mewshaw has been a freelance ASL interpreter for both the Trump and Biden administrations. After Time published an article on her personal politics, the mother of four has allegedly not been offered a return engagement by the White House. The not-so-subtle title of the hit-piece is “President Biden’s First White House Sign Language Interpreter Has Ties to the Far Right.”
Following Time’s expose, she has been reportedly harassed and threatened. Now, she claims to fear not only for her own safety… but her family’s as well.
According to the New York Post, Mewshaw is being targeted because she provided “American Sign Language translation for the Hands of Liberty Facebook group and its defunct predecessor, Right Side ASL.”
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“Those videos include one featuring former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that’s titled ‘What Really Happened on January 6th?’ — the day of the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters — and another, since removed, that features controversial Dr. Stella Immanuel, who has prompted treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, which the FDA has banned for that purpose,” the New York Post reported.
Mewshaw stated that: “The goal of my activity — at the White House or with Hands of Liberty — is that it’s all about access. The thing is, I was canceled and humiliated publicly and it was unjust and unfair.”
She says that she was just doing her job. She translates for deaf people. Supporting Trump is her personal political belief and she claims those that criticize her “don’t want this content to be interpreted because they don’t believe in it.”
Mewshaw states that she doesn’t always agree with what she translates, but she does the volunteer work because people ask for speeches by Republicans and conservatives.
“Deaf people just want a chance to decide for themselves what information is out there,” she stated.
Mewshaw also defended herself in a released statement: “To my surprise, the remarkable win of having an ASL interpreter at every White House press briefing has been overshadowed, by a few who, without evidence or merit, chose to cast aspersions against my ability to be objective and impartial because of my involvement in a conservative social media group. These unfounded claims about me were picked up by the media and numerous articles were written about this erroneous conclusion.”
Her statement continued in part:
The mostly negative media coverage of me in recent weeks has been a disservice to the ASL interpreting profession. The message being conveyed is that ASL interpreters must have a certain set of beliefs or values that align completely with the consumers. We must remember that an ASL interpreter is relaying the message of another person and not their own. ASL interpreters are to be respected as objective professionals, irrespective of their own belief systems. There are examples of a double standard when it comes to ASL interpreters who openly identify as liberal activists working at events for conservative figureheads/politicians. These ASL interpreters are lauded by the media and their peers for having the ability to be objective and impartial. However, despite my undisputed professional work on January 25, 2021, I have been targeted and defamed by some in the Deaf community and the media because I worked as a Deaf advocate with HOL.
Mewshaw concluded with the following: “My work as an ASL interpreter has been, is and always will be effective, accurate and impartial. That is a core tenant of my certifications with the RID. My past work, my credentials, my unvarnished reputation, and 21 years of working as an RID certified ASL interpreter speaks for itself.”
Mewshaw was falsely portrayed online wearing a MAGA hat during White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s Jan. 25 briefing. There have been numerous other smears and attacks against the besieged interpreter as well including a petition with over 9,000 signatures calling for her to be fired.
The only comment that the White House made concerning the whole matter is a deflection that was released in a previous statement that said, “The President and this administration have made a commitment to having an ASL interpreter at every press briefing and are working to follow through on that commitment every single day.”
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