It must be nice to be CBS.
You’ve got billions of dollars in your piggy bank.
You’ve got the highest of high-powered lawyers.
You’ve got millions of faithful viewers.
Yet all that money and power and you still act like a common thug without a shred of decency.
The good news here is that the celiac community has raised their voices and shown that they are the most kick-ass community in the world.
We have risen to the occasion.
The bad news is that all of this has come at the expense of one of our own, Jennifer Esposito.
To say she is getting raked over the coals would be the understatement of the year.
And to make matters worse, our faithful media has jumped in and has skewered so many facts, I don’t know where to start.
So how about we start with some truths?
Truth: Jennifer’s celiac disease is not my celiac disease and it’s not your celiac disease. There are all levels of this insidious disease and the years of misdiagnoses have taken a serious toll on her body.
Truth: Jennifer made it very clear to CBS from the beginning that she has severe celiac disease and she would not be able to work full-time.
Truth: CBS did not hire her for full-time work.
Truth: Jennifer’s role expanded to the point where she was working full-time.
Truth: They continued to only pay her part-time salary.
Truth: Because blood work showed extreme malabsorption, her doctors ordered her to work less. It was not just a suggestion.
Truth: CBS ignored this order and soon after, Jennifer collapsed on the set.
Truth: Jennifer is not dying and she is able to work on a reduced schedule of 2 days per week. A typical day is 12-15 hours.
Truth: She was told that was not enough, even though many other cast members only work that amount.
Truth: It is their prerogative to fire her if she cannot meet their needs.
Truth: But they are keeping her in contract.
Truth: They are not paying her.
Truth: They are blocking her from working anywhere else and making a living.
Truth: This is modern day slavery.
Ok…fine. That last one was my opinion.
Truth: Jennifer’s last day on the show is really not November 2 as CBS is saying (to draw viewers of course.) She is done. She’s not on this week and she’ll be on November 2 for about two minutes.
This is sincerely one of the most pathetic displays of power I’ve ever seen.
In this day and age, how can somebody not pay you AND prevent you from working elsewhere, all because you are debilitated from an autoimmune disease??
Seriously, what kind of a society are we living in?
And to make matters worse, you’ve got uneducated jackasses like Mary Elizabeth Williams writing a bullshit piece for Salon.com on this topic, which does nothing but spread misinformation about our disease.
You know what it’s titled?
Gluten-fueled Meltdown: Jennifer Esposito splits with CBS over her celiac disease. But is it a real malady or a dietary choice?
Here are a few quotes from Mary’s journalistic masterpiece:
“Esposito may be helping raise awareness of her disease via her blog and her outspokenness, but she is also simultaneously contributing to the chorus of eye-rolling you may have noticed lately whenever someone conspicuously shudders at the garlic bread at a dinner party.”
“If you’re talking in one breath about a serious, debilitating disease and advocating that anyone who suspects they have it see a doctor, that’s a world apart from suggesting someone self-diagnose a problem because she could lose almost 20 pounds.”
This is not about losing weight you self-righteous bonehead. It’s about living your life while trying to limit the emotional and physical pains that celiac can cause.
And it’s about helping others who may or may not have gluten issues to be aware of the symptoms and to get checked if you’ve got concerns.
This goes back to my rule that says nobody is allowed to write about celiac disease unless they are a doctor or have the disease. There are no exceptions.
If you share my anger at the article, feel free to let Miss Williams know how you feel on Twitter.
I’m sure she’d be happy to hear from you.
Just tell her The Gluten Dude sent you
And if your head continues to explode at the callous way CBS is treating Jennifer, here again is how you can reach them:
And to you CBS…I implore you.
Instead of acting like the big corporate bully, take this opportunity to be compassionate.
Educate yourselves on celiac disease and become an advocate for us.
If CBS truly cares as you say they do, this is your moment to truly show it.
And by all means, let Jennifer earn a living, whether it’s on your network or another.
We all deserve that opportunity, celiac or not.