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Russian Supermodel Calls for Calm Over Disabled Discrimination Incident

Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova

Russian model Natalia Vodianova appealed for calm after the owner of a cafe whose staff asked her autistic sister to leave because she was “scaring off clients” apologized amid a storm of outrage.

The episode that made the headlines took place last week at a cafe in the sisters' native city of Nizhny Novgorod. Oksana Vodianova, 27, who has autism and cerebral palsy, and her carer were asked to leave the premises of the Flamingo cafe for “scaring off their clients.”

Vodianova, a world famous Russian supermodel, described the story in a Facebook post that gathered more than 100,000 likes and thousands of shares, provoking outrage among the public.

In her latest Facebook post on the subject, Vodianova warned against “exchanging one form of intolerance for another” by launching an attack against those who had offended her sister, saying that the scandal has simply revealed a broader problem that could have surfaced anywhere else.

“Something unbelievable and incredible has happened in the last two days. Hundreds of thousands of people, thousands of bloggers and journalists, leading political figures and newsmakers have begun to move and talk and have all diverted their attention to the problems of people with special needs in Russia,” Vodianova said in a post on Thursday.

On Friday, the sensationalist news website LifeNews posted a video of the cafe's owner Svetlana Mamedova meeting with Vodianova's mother Larisa Kusakina in front of her apartment building and apologizing. In the video, Mamedova claimed that the wait staff and managers involved in the incident had been fired.

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