Fran Itkoff

The Gateway Pundit reported on the decision by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) to fire 90-year-old volunteer Fran Itkoff after she expressed confusion about “what pronouns meant.”

After intense backlash, NMSS has issued a tepid apology to Itkoff that makes clear they will continue to align with woke DEI ideology.

Itkoff, who lives in California and has been an MS volunteer for 60 years, is a Lakewood/Long Beach Self-Help Group leader. She was allegedly asked by an unnamed worker at NMSS to use her preferred pronouns. Itkoff replied that she did not understand the request.

She then received an email telling her her organization would no longer be affiliated with NMSS for her “failure to abide by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion guidelines.”

NMSS said at the time of Itkoff’s firing, “For more than 75 years, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has advanced one bold vision—a world free of MS. Through thousands of volunteers, dedicated staff, and generous donors, we live that vision every day. We welcome anyone to join us to advance that mission. As an organization, we firmly believe that we best serve and support those living with MS by creating a space that welcomes all. This is especially true for self-help group leaders, who are responsible for leading meetings for people affected by MS to confide in and support one another. Recently, a volunteer, Fran Itkoff, was asked to step away from her role because of statements that were viewed as not aligning with our policy of inclusion. Fran has been a valued member of our volunteer team for more than 60 years. We believe that our staff acted with the best of intentions and did their best to navigate a challenging issue. As an organization, we are in a continued conversation about assuring that our diversity, equity and inclusion policies evolve in service of our mission, and will reach out to Fran in service of this goal.”

The organization faced a PR disaster with intense backlash from the decision.

On Wednesday, they issued the following statement:

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society apologizes to our longtime, dedicated volunteer Fran Itkoff. Recently, we asked Fran to step down from her role as a group leader because of statements made that we viewed as not aligning with our recently implemented diversity, equity and inclusion policy. We realize now that we made a mistake, and we should have had more conversations with Fran before making this decision. 

Over her 60 years of volunteer service, Fran has been a committed champion for our cause. We had an opportunity to work 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 spent more time with Fran to help her understand why, as an organization, we are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive movement where everyone has equitable access to the care, connections, and support they need to live their best lives.

We apologized to Fran directly and reached out to her to find a way to continue to work together. In the spirit of continuous learning, we are focused on evaluating our processes and fortifying our learning to ensure our team members are equipped on the best ways to implement all of our policies. We want everyone to feel confident and supported in their roles. This work is a journey requiring commitment, accountability, transparency, and courage.

The National MS Society is a nonpartisan organization committed to one bold vision – a world free of MS. The support of our volunteers is essential to achieving our mission and ensuring people affected by MS can live their best lives. MS does not discriminate, and everyone who shares our vision of a world free of MS is welcome here.

We invite all to join the movement to create a world free of MS. Together we are stronger.

For many, the tepid apology that continues to push a woke agenda fell flat.

You still don’t get it. Fran was not the problem. Her failure to “understand” the policy was not the problem.

The policy is trash-it would not have been better had you spent more time to “help her understand” the trash policy. .

— pragmatometer (@pragmatometer) February 21, 2024

“We failed to properly indoctrinate 90-year-old Fran, who served us 60 long years, long enough under bright interrogation lights why we demand she call boys girls and girls boys, because we don’t ‘discriminate’!! Well, we only discriminate against normal 90 year old…

— AmIRight?! (@Melissa91325973) February 21, 2024

The National MS Society had an opportunity to correct a wrong. Instead they defended it’s DEI policy rather than a dedicated volunteer. The Society’s initial response undoubtedly reflects their core values. They don’t need to “educate” the volunteer…they need to publicly…

— Kevin D. Murray, MD (@kdmurray622) February 21, 2024

The post After Backlash, National MS Society Issues Tepid Apology to 90-Year-Old Volunteer Fired for for Asking What Pronouns Meant appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.