MS Society Defends Decision To Oust 90-Year-Old Volunteer For Not Using Pronouns
Liudmila Chernetska via Getty Images

The non-profit National Multiple Sclerosis Society defended its decision to oust a 90-year-old volunteer because she “did not understand pronouns.”

The organization released a statement on Thursday addressing the controversy and reaffirmed its decision to part ways with the elderly volunteer, who had worked with them for 60 years prior to being let go.

“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,” the statement said. “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 statement added.

While comments for the post with a link to the statement were turned off, X users expressed their frustration on previous posts from the organization.

“I will never donate another dollar to you for what you did to that poor woman.  Just disgusting,” one person shared.

“If you let the lady go, you are not inclusive,” another agreed.

“I have ceased my annual donation. You know what you did,” a third person echoed.


Itkoff’s story went viral after she did an interview with Libs of TikTok documenting her experience. The former volunteer said she received an email claiming she had failed to “abide by [the MS Society’s] Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion guidelines,” which resulted in her being asked to step away from her position.

Itkoff told LOTT creator Chaya Raichik that it all had to do with pronoun usage.  “I was confused. I didn’t know what it was and what it meant,” Itkoff said of being asked to incorporate pronouns into her email signature.

“I had seen it on a couple of letters that had come in after the person’s name. But I didn’t know what that meant,” she continued. “So when I finally talked to [a colleague], I asked what does it mean… And she said that it meant they were all-inclusive, which didn’t make sense to me. Because it sounds like you are labeling for females, not males, if you are just putting in she/her.”

The 90-year-old California resident said she was asked to step down a few days later. “I was completely shocked,” she said of her dismissal. “I couldn’t believe that … I had to read it a couple of times to see if I’m getting what she said.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  MS Society Defends Decision To Oust 90-Year-Old Volunteer For Not Using Pronouns