DWTS' Nyle DiMarco Says Bachelor Contestant Who Used Sign Language During Premiere Got it Wrong
The DWTS Champ clarified in a tweet about what was actually signed during Monday night's episode
Nyle DiMarco is setting the record straight.
During Monday night’s premiere of The Bachelor, Colton Underwood spent some alone time with contestant Cassie, who works as a speech pathologist. As the pair got to know each other, Cassie tired to teach Colton some sign language, showing him the signs for “you’re cute,” “rose” and “kiss.”
But while the action seemed sweet in the moment, DiMarco, who is Deaf, later pointed out that Cassie was actually signing incorrect.
“Endearing but here is what she actually signed: 1) ‘YOUR’ cute (not you are) 2) RESTAURANT (not rose) 3) Two different signs for kiss in one sentence ‘kiss-kiss'” he explained.
In a separate tweet, DiMarco added: “Now how to sign them? 1) CUTE then point whoever like this 2) Move up to your nose area, with your palm facing you (tap once on the outside of your nose and then over to the other side) 3) Pick one sign a. 1st sign — pucker up a bit b. 2nd sign is perfect”
This is not the first time that DiMarco has spoken out on behalf of the Deaf community.
In September, he called out Netflix’s hit romantic comedy, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, after one of the scenes in the film featured Shannon Purser’s character pretending to be Deaf in order to avoid speaking to someone who could recognize her voice.
“So one of my close friends’ Deaf brother is in Sierra Burgess. When I learned, I was elated. Finally more Deaf actors/representation & ASL inclusion in films,” DiMarco tweeted. “….Only to find out the deaf character was written and used for a terrible joke. PS — pretending to be Deaf is NOT ok.”
He continued, “There were homophobic and transphobic jokes as well,” in reference to another scene in which Purser’s character was offended that some people would think she’s a lesbian for the way she looks.
“It is extremely easy to make jokes about marginalized/disenfranchised groups… but that makes you a lazy writer,” DiMarco added. “And honestly you shouldn’t make these jokes AT ALL because our lives are on the line.”
Born in New Jersey and raised in Frederick, Maryland, by his single mom, DiMarco is just one of more than 25 Deaf people in his family.
His twin brother, his older brother, his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are all Deaf, too.
“Growing up, I was always involved in the Deaf community,” DiMarco told PEOPLE, adding that he socialized with hearing children while playing sports at the park and riding bikes around the neighborhood but attended a school for the Deaf for most of his elementary, middle and high school years.
“If I’d been born into a hearing family and went to a public school, I would have probably felt much more isolated, and being Deaf would have become my identity,” he said. “Since I knew my Deaf identity since birth, it wasn’t hard for me to be comfortable, confident and independent in a hearing world.”
DiMarco makes a point to use his fame to make sure Deaf youth experience that same sense of independence.
“I started to realize that there are a lot of people who are unaware of Deaf culture, and I’ve been given a great platform to reframe the Deaf community. I want to use my celebrity for good,” he explained.