Last week, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society found itself in the limelight, and it wasn’t due to achieving new fundraising records. 

Instead, they dismissed a 90-year-old woman who had dedicated over six decades volunteering for them because she didn’t comprehend the necessity to use neopronouns. 

Let’s be explicit: she wasn’t even opposing the practice, although she had every right to. She was simply inquisitive about why all the emails now incorporated pronouns in the signatures. 

This was considered offensive, demonstrating that she wasn’t “inclusive” enough to contribute her time and effort to a cause she had served for decades. 

The exposure of the snub came from Chaya Raichek, the notorious Libs of TikTok owner, and chaos ensued. She conducted an interview with the affected volunteer, and the MS Society has been struggling to control the fallout ever since. 

A friend of mine on Twitter, a gerontologist, was so incensed that he composed a post on SubStack summarizing the scandal. Instead of reiterating his admirable work, I urge you to read his post

After initially “clarifying” their decision, explaining why Fran Itkoff was undeserving to be an MS Society volunteer, the organization has backtracked and issued a non-apologetic apology. 

They desire to reconcile with Fran and want her to return as long as she is willing to undergo re-education on the intricacies of alphabet ideology. 

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society expresses regret to our long-serving, dedicated volunteer Fran Itkoff. Recently, we requested Fran to step down from her role as a group leader due to statements made that we perceived as not aligning with our recently implemented diversity, equity and inclusion policy. We now realize that we made an error, and we should have engaged in more discussions with Fran before making this decision. 

Throughout her 60 years of volunteer service, Fran has been a devoted advocate for our cause. We had the chance to collaborate with her and support her as a self-help group volunteer leader, but as an organization, we fell short. 

While we acted at the time with the best intentions, we did not have clear protocols in place. We should have devoted more time with Fran to help her comprehend why, as an organization, we are committed to building a diversified and inclusive movement where everyone has equitable access to the care, connections, and support they need to live their best lives.  

We tendered a direct apology to Fran and reached out to her to explore a way to continue working together. As part of our ongoing learning process, we are focused on evaluating our processes and strengthening our learning to ensure our team members are well-versed in the most effective ways to implement all of our policies. We want everyone to feel assured and supported in their roles. This endeavor is a journey that demands dedication, responsibility, transparency, and bravery. 

They needed to “collaborate with her” to “assist her in comprehending why, as an organization, we are dedicated to building a diversified and inclusive movement where everyone has equitable access to the care, connections, and support they need to live their best lives.”

At no juncture was there any doubt about Fran being anything but inclusive. There was no apprehension about her work at all. What mattered to the MS Society was that she wasn’t enlightened enough to understand the importance of neopronouns. There were no complaints; there was never any issue concerning her volunteering duties. 

It all boiled down to a bureaucrat getting irritated that Fran didn’t “comprehend it.” 

Fran doesn’t need to clarify anything to her because everyone she collaborates with is willing to do so, and they have been for decades. 

Yet, the MS Society cannot concede that Fran was satisfactory as she was. No re-education camp is required. 

This statement isn’t an apology. It is an endeavor to restore their fundraising. It is akin to their Clydesdale commercial–please come back; we need your business…