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Disney Pulls 'Jessie' Episode After Petition Claims It Shames Kids With Gluten Allergies -
The Disney Channel has pulled an episode of “Jessie” from their regular programming in response to backlash from parents. The complaints about the show were formalized in a petition, claiming that storyline was insensitive towards children with food allergies.
In the episode, a young character named Stuart, who is sensitive to gluten, is made out to be annoying and high-maintenance. For example, when another character throws pancakes in his face, the in-studio audience laughs at him along with everyone else in the scene. (You can see the offending clips captured by blogger Gluten Dude in the video above.)
When mom Amy Raslevich saw the episode with her two children who both have Celiac disease, she was appalled and her kids were very upset. “There were tears in my daughter’s eyes, and my son’s fist was clenched,” she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Raslevich started a petition on Change.org on Thursday in an attempt to convince Disney to pull the episode titled “Quitting Cold Koala.” She explained how her kids are often ostracized because of their condition that limits their diets and how Disney poorly portrayed the issue. She wrote:They will often feel excluded or different, because they have to be to avoid serious illness.
Yet Disney gave children permission, and an example, to further isolate my children and others like them because of their medical conditions. Their characters made it okay to characterize a real illness as an annoyance that is justification for the ‘cool kids’ to make fun of the ‘others’. This isn’t acceptable for anyone. It is the definition of bullying.
More than 2,000 people signed the petition.
On Friday, the Disney Channel posted a statement in response to the backlash on their official Facebook page:To our viewers, we received your feedback about tonight’s “Jessie” episode which some of you accessed early on Video-on-Demand. We are removing this particular episode from our regular programming schedule and will re-evaluate its references to gluten restrictions in the character’s diet. Please accept our apologies for the upset this episode caused you and your family. We value your feedback and thank you for watching Disney Channel.
Though some commenters thought the episode was no big deal (Gluten Dude documented those reactions here), many were thankful that the Disney Channel took action.
Disney faced with another petition for change?
Pardon me as I cackle with joy — and yes, I chose that GIF on purpose…
Okay, okay…being serious, now…
Food allergies, as a whole, suck. They do. I count myself very fortunate that me and my sister are pretty much allergy-free when it comes to the foods we eat. But you know something? Of all the allergies that have cropped up over the years…gluten allergies are probably THE MOST unforgiving.
Think about it.
Just think about it for five minutes.
Think about all the foods you wouldn’t be able to eat if you have a gluten and/or wheat sensitivity/intolerance.
If you’re not breaking down and weeping at the idea of something as simple as bread being your arch-nemesis, then you are not human.
I would not know what to do with myself — and as a foodie…ugh. That would be a nightmare and a half.
Now, in the end, I’m not suggesting we walk around each other on eggshells over one another’s food-related afflictions, but come on: cut these people a break, will you? Exercise some compassion for what they go through on a daily basis, and leave it at that. That’s all that’s being asked for. It’s not even that much to begin with…
I realize that the show was trying to be funny, and that humor is traditionally made at the expense of someone else…but good grief. A lot of people deal with allergies — and a great many of them happen to be young kids. There is no need to add insult to injury, here…
Food allergies are not a joke. One time at work I had this little boy who had a milk allergy and I did my best to sanitize everything. Somebody used an item after I sterilized it.
The boys throat started to swell and he was itching.
He could have died.
I got him some water and it ended up being fine.
But it scared the living crap out of me.
People with food allergies have to be high maintenance because food allergies are serious business.
Never get too attached to anyone unless they also feel the same towards you because one sided expectations kills you. — (via expiry)
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