Robert Kennedy's daughter offended by Sotto's theft of her dad's speech; wants an apology

Posted at 11/10/2012 6:40 PM

Kerry Kennedy, 43, is urging Philippine Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto to apologize for lifting a famous passage from the speech of her father, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Ms. Kennedy, 43, wrote in a letter dated November 9, 2012:

"I urge that he (Sotto) apologize for his unethical, unsanctioned theft of Robert Kennedy’s intellectual property and the intellectual property of all those whose work he has plagiarized."

Kennedy, who wrote her letter on official stationery of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, added:

"In addition, I am particularly offended to see a speech my father gave in support of global human rights distorted by Senator Sotto as an argument against the right to contraception. Expanding and protecting access to contraception is a global priority I have promoted for years, and limiting that freedom was in no way the topic of the 1966 Day of Affirmation speech."

Ms. Kennedy is the founding President of the Center and has been a human rights advocate for the last 30 years. She is the former wife of the incumbent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Her father, the late senator, had delivered his Day of Affirmation speech on June 6, 1966 before the National Union of South African Students in Capetown, South Africa, in support of a person’s right to liberty and the civil rights movement that was beginning to flower then. Kennedy was gunned down almost to the day of that speech two years later on June 5, 1968, just as he had secured the Democratic nomination to run for president.

Philippine fiction author Miguel Syjuco told me that Kennedy’s letter will be part of an ethics complaint that will soon be filed before the Senate Ethics Committee against Senator Sotto.

The letter of Ms. Kennedy therefore understandably starts with the following paragraph: