The Disney Saga: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

jessie disney gluten

Score one for the celiac community!

After my blog post on Friday regarding the Jessie episode where they bullied a gluten free character, it caused a serious sh*tstorm within our community.

So we did what we do best. We stood up for ourselves. We shared across all of our platforms. We tweeted, facebooked (I know…not an actual word) and called Disney. We signed a Petition and generated over 2,000 signatures in a matter of hours.

We proved that we are a powerful, passionate community that is not to be taken lightly.

And guess what?

By the end of the day, Disney agreed to pull the episode off the air.

Imagine that. In the course of 10 hours, we convinced Disney to pull an episode right before it was supposed to air. How freaking cool is that??

Power to the people. Power…to…the…people.

My personal thanks to Disney for listening to the community and doing the right thing. How it made it through all of the stages (writing, editing, filming, etc.) is beyond me, but at least they did their best to right a wrong.

But alas…not everybody was happy with the decision. It was a mixed sampling at best and shows that we have so much more work to do to advocate and educate.

How mixed was the reaction? Here you go.

Thank you for pulling the episode. My daughter has Celiac disease and growing up was tough going to school.
Wows all…y’all is trippin. It just Disney channel.
Oh no…the dude coughed! Let’s have them pull an episode cause some people think coughing is bad. Gluten Dude…grow some b*lls.
At least Disney had the presence of mind not to air that episode. They realized it was a mistake & they corrected it. I applaud them for doing that. Thank you, Disney.
Not sure what happened but it is very hard to explain to a child who was looking forward to an episode about a koala, that it is not airing due to a comment about gluten!
Seriously? Gluten? People need to get lives and find something a little more worthwhile to complain about. My little one was looking forward to this episode.
Thank you. Those of us living with Celiac every day very much appreciate you listening. We love Jessie in our house and didn’t think that was the message you wanted to send. We love you, Disney!
People need to relax omg!!! I watched the clip and didn’t see a thing wrong with it! People pull your heads out.
You people need lives. Go act like something else is important (even though its not)
Since my son’s diagnosis of Celiac disease 6 months ago he has avoided social events at school & with friends. This has been a very isolating time for him. Shame on Disney for only reinforcing his fears.
Thanks to the parents that complained to Disney, how ignorant can you be to complain about something like this. Seriously, over a gluten diet that a character has on a tv show.
Sooo like they cancelled the episode cause of her diet!?!?
Thank you Disney for doing the right thing. I didn’t expect such a quick response, but I’m glad to see it happen. I’m a 30 year old ADULT with Celiac and even I get teased and bullied by other adults when it comes to gluten.
Leave it up and if people don’t like it, well, don’t watch it! (Dude note: This was sadly a very common response.)
I have dietary restrictions. Come off it people, ur psycho if ur offended. Get a life!
Glad you pulled the episode but a little too late in my opinion. Disney should have never glorified bullying in any manner on any show targeting children – especially when the bullying involved life threatening allergies/intolerances.
With all the available food options these days for gluten sensitive people this should not have offended anyone plain and simple.
Get over it. Kids get bullied for every reason all the time. How about not showing any kind of bullying at all? This is just ridiculous.
Thank you Disney for pulling the episode! Bullying (in any forms) should NEVER be tolerated.
I have plenty of friends with celiac and they all think you are being nothing but over sensitive babies with no sense or humor at all.
You’re raising a generation of sissy’s. Instead of getting mad and demanding it be taken off air how bout tell your kids to stand up for themselves.
I’m proud that Disney stepped up and did the right thing. This was never about banning all things Disney. It was about righting a wrong.
This tv show was not bullying. Parents are raising their kids to be wimps.
Disney did not take the episode down because they realize that it was wrong. It was taken down because they were bombarded with hateful feedback from, “The Mob of Idiots” that obviously did not even watch the episode to begin with.
I’m just happy Disney is taking responsibility for its mistakes. Kudos for that at least.
The majority of viewers suffer due to the actions of a few who took things out of context to try and support their agenda.
Damn glutards!!

We can bask in the glow of our victory but please realize we have a long, long way to go.

Keep fighting the good fight folks.

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53 thoughts on “The Disney Saga: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

    1. I hear you Molly. It pretty much speaks to the intelligence level of so many who were more upset about a TV episode being pulled then they were about a child being bullied and gluten free being mocked. And it wasn’t just kids making these statements. A lot of them came from parents. Says a lot…doesn’t it?

      1. My child has had Celiac disease from age 9 and has never missed one social event or school event because of her immune disorder. Neither would she or I be insulted by what a TV show says. If I didn’t like it, I would just not watch it. These parents that are so insulted by this I bet are the same parents who bring their kids to violent movies and let their children play violent video games. BUT that OK!! Society needs to get a grip!!!

          1. And how does pulling a TV show change that? It doesn’t. Maybe it’s the people that are “offended” that need to change and respect that and understand that you have a choice everyday to see the negative or choose to see the positive. That’s why my daughter has never felt different.

            1. Karen…how does turning away from things make a difference in this world? It’s not about changing the channel. It’s about standing up for what you believe in. And standing up for my fellow celiacs.

            2. Ever hear of a little thing called free speech? Have you ever been offended by a violent TV show? I think not.

  1. People are so ignorant but these are the same people who make absurd and ridiculous comments on EVERYTHING. I definitely think we need to keep advocating and educating, but wasting our breath or energy on these folks is a waste of time. Some people will never care, will never change and derive pleasure from making idiotic comments and upsetting others.

    Also … the power of the internet amazes me. It’s awesome that Disney pulled the episode!

  2. First time I’ve come across the term ‘glutard’. So, I checked it on Urban Dictionary (funnily enough, it was in the Oxford English Dictionary) and it is defined thus:

    “One who does not possess the enzymes necessary to digest gluten, a main ingredient in wheat products.”

    Not quite.

    At least if you are going to classify someone with a derogatory name, you should do it with the correct factual information to begin with, no?

  3. I am so happy the community rallied, but this just situation proves how much education we need to do. The general public seems to not understand how serious food allergies can be, maybe in part due to the Celebrity “fad” stigma around GF or a general lack of knowledge. It blows my mind how anyone can think bullying in any form is acceptable. Oh well, one victory at a time!

  4. I’m glad that Disney pulled the episode. I would like to see it replaced with an episode where there may be some bullying with regards to the gluten free diet with some of the non-celiac kids taking a stand and not tolerating the bullying at all so we can see solutions, not just problems. Our kids see this everyday and we need to educate. My daughter who likely has and at least severely gluten intolerant (taken off gluten at age 2 due to issues with growth, teeth, bowels, and balance, and DQ2.2) and vomits with cross contact goes to school in an environment where she gets in trouble reacting to kids who open up their lunches and put their garbage on her desk. They do this to a milk allergic child as well. People just don’t get it and pulling the episode gets a negative reaction where education might actually get people to think about their actions.

  5. I am very proud of or community and standing up for what is right and wrong. It was not about the gluten in the show, it was all about the bullying, laughter that ensued, and no consequences. What if it was a life threatening peanut allergy? Would that have been amusing when he went into anaphylactic shock? With Celiac disease or Gluten sensitivity it might not be an immediate response, but I am certain if they would have stuck with Stewart for the rest of the day, night and next couple of weeks they would not be laughing then either.

    1. It’s funny how how most of you take fault in the retrobutions of a stalked girl to her stalker (a pre-pervert and a rude whiny one at that) and not to the boy who won’t take “No” for an answer. I wonder why you aren’t more concerned with the fact that she appears to be prey.

  6. My nearly 12 year old daughter and I discussed this last night. We are HUGE Disney fans in our house. We have had annual passes to Disneyland 5 times and made many 8 hour long trips to Disneyland in her lifetime. her is what she would like to see. Either a show that talks about bullying and some steps to fix it (I forgot to mention she is a “Safe School Ambassador”), or she would like to see one of the “cool” kids on a show get diagnosed and start living gluten free and have it not be a big deal. She liked the idea of Teddy on “Good Luck Charlie” being diagnosed with celiac and having her best friend Ivy be supportive of her new lifestyle. Would it need to show all of the ugly truth about GI issues? No. And maybe it could be a milk allergy, or an egg allergy, whatever. She would like to see someone with a food allergy or celiac portrayed in a positive light.

  7. I have a gigantic sense of humor and not much bothers me (even some of the things the irreverent ToshO says)

    But I have little regard for people who think there’s “nothing wrong” with showing a child being taunted and humiliated (and not just for his GF diet but for ANY reason).

    We’ve become a callous society if we find humor in that.


  8. My 5-year old daughter is not a Celiac, but what Doctors sometimes refer to as “sensitivity to wheat.” Last Thanksgiving she put on a Macaroni necklace made from regular pasta and broke out into a rash everywhere it touched her skin. She suffered every day for 10 solid weeks from systemic hives set off by her “wheat sensitivity.” The idea that you should throw anything containing wheat at someone who cannot process wheat is -at best- as offensive as throwing sugar at a diabetic and at worst (as in my daughter’s case) life threatening. Thank heavens Disney had the sense to pull the episode. Or, they could have just cut & edited the scene. The extreme ignorance exhibited by some of the responses is so disheartening.

  9. I am thinking that if these people are making these comments about this and being so rude and cruel then I wonder, their kids are probably going to (if not already) be the ones bullying kids….. If their parent Bully people (such as a lot of them in a since did with their comments) them im sure the kids are probably going to grow up just like their parents in a since and be hateful and bully also!! My opinion anyways. Its so ignorant that people have to be so hurtful to others and they dont even understand why they just get all bent in the head because some episode was taken off the air…. Some people need to just grow up i think!!!!!

  10. I think Disney should apologise too, they can’t just pretend this bullying never happened now it’s been pulled off the air!

  11. Kids missing a show , maybe they can get a little idea how it feels like for us Celiac’s adults and kids to miss our favourite foods …

    I never liked anything Disney but if I did I would lose all respect for them after this pathetic BS .

  12. To me, this just shows the ignorance of people. I think it’s just intolerable that any child is bullied on TV for anything. While I’m sensitive to the fact that it’s related to gluten and Celiac Disease, I cannot figure out why it gets laughs or writers think it will get laughs to be mean to another child.
    The comments people left are astounding. Clearly most folks don’t get it. Are you honestly more worried about YOUR child missing an episode than the fact that this child was being bullied? Oh, I feel so bad for your poor child that they missed it,so that they could see just exactly how to bully someone else and it must be okay if Disney thinks it’s okay?! (insert sarcasm here)
    It just goes to show that we’re a LONG way from people actually understanding what Celiac is and what it means to live with it everyday.

  13. First, Dude, thanks again for getting the momentum going on this last Friday.
    Second, thanks for using one of the things that I said in your post. 😀
    Lastly, you put everything so eloquently here that I hope you don’t mind if I link back to you for a post that I’m working on.

    Your awesome! Thanks for doing what you do!

  14. A couple of things (ok, 3). Thank you for bringing attention to this. My friends all thought it was lame of Disney to produce such an episode. I ended up telling my 7 yr old about the episode (I told her about it). She asked if the director of Jesse was going to make Disneyland and Disneyworld stop making gluten-free food (something they are well known for doing well). How sad! Lastly, the facebook comments are pretty wild. Wow. Not sure if I believe the person who says they could die any moment; maybe they can just take this scene out? Anyway, good job fighting the fight.

  15. My favorite: “Get over it. Kids get bullied for every reason all the time. How about not showing any kind of bullying at all? This is just ridiculous.”

    Yeah douchetard. How about eliminating bullying.

  16. Wow, just wow. If it had been any other type of bullying, would it have been an issue? I too have worked relentlessly to make Celiac and living gluten-free in our homes and lives easy, and to have a show (that my kids watch) talk about it in a joking, bullying way, isn’t ok. My son can deal with that in real life, and he does. He has to defend himself and his diet in LIFE, how about not have to think about it when he is sitting back watching a tv show.
    Thanks for posting again about the response, its remarkable.

  17. I’m still concerned that the episode still seems to be available on Disney On Demand. It should be pulled from that also, there is no excuse for that. And they should crack down on copyright infringement on You Tube. Bottom line, we don’t want impressionable kids watching this episode at all.

  18. Actually, it didn’t even make sense for this character to have “5 pages of food allergies” when on the previous episode he ate at an Italian restaurant (Hello? Gluten central) with absolutely no comment about food restrictions.

  19. For this episode, I would have loved to see Stuart/Stewart (not sure the spelling) stand up for himself and tell them (in a G-Rated way) to f*** off.

    The parents who posted saying teach your kids to stand up for themselves, stop raising wimps, etc… they have such a double standard. Children should be raised to stand up for themselves and not tolerate bullying, yet Stewart didn’t stand up for himself. Nobody on the show stepped in and put an end to it for him… how are children supposed to know they *can* stand up for themselves, when the majority of bullied victims on tv are total wimps?
    This applies to all things, not just allergy-bullying. I think bullying should be completely not allowed on a kids television show, unless it is to demonstrate consequences of bullying and how to be assertive against bullies.

  20. I am in Australia and we have ‘Jessie’ screened on the Disney Channel over here. I wonder if Disney USA have made sure the episode doesn’t screen anywhere, not just USA? We certainly have coeliac/gluten intolerant children here. ( FYI coeliac with the ‘o’ is the Australian/UK spelling)

  21. Well done GD etc.

    It pained me to see the clips, where the boy was being bullied. The adults in the room did nothing to stop it. What are we teaching our children, if we allow them to watch this? That it’s OK to mock people, to pick on those weaker than ourselves, who don’t feel able to fight back?

    GD might have been the person to say something, because it’s a cause close to his stomach (and mine). But the issue goes much deeper than coeliac disease/gluten intolerance etc.

    The child was unlikely to become ill from touching the pancakes (although one with a severe allergy might be a different matter).
    These ugly scenes give the impression that if someone wears glasses/has allergies/is bright, then the “perfect” children have every right to bully them. And the adults do not step in and explain why this is the wrong thing to do.

    What sort of society do we want to live in? One where perfect physical specimens are able to drive away those they consider less perfect? Or one where we accept each other’s differences, and try to get along together, which is only possible if we make some allowances for others’ needs.

  22. Having thought some more, perhaps we could suggest a way for Disney to address the issues of CD and bullying in a more constructive manner. This has to be better than showing no bullying (everyone know it happens)

    Stuart was eating gluteny food a couple of weeks previously because he was undergoing tests for CD which came back positive, so now he eats gluten-free.

    Nasty girl wants to see what happens if he eats gluten, because she has heard it is a fad diet that is very popular with the stars.

    Nicer friend says that would be cruel, and tries to discourage friend, but nasty girl serves up orzo and says it is rice, which Stuart eats.

    Stuart pukes in Nasty girl’s food and spends most of the rest of the episode in the bathroom.

    A constructive discussion follows about allergies, intolerances, CD and other medical problems and respecting each other’s differences. About how we all feel bad when we are made to feel different from our friends, or when the people around us do not respect our feelings (or medically needed dietary requirements, delete as required).

    Stuart emerges from the bathroom several hours later looking extremely ill, and his friends apologise and hope he feels better in a few days’ time.

    Of course bullying takes place; of course Disney presents a sugar-coated world where everyone is perfect and no-one has coeliac disease. I just think we could do even more to get the message across by portraying both the serious and positive side of CD.

  23. Part of the reason that people don’t take Celiac/gluten allergies seriously is because so much is marketed as “gluten-free” not for the convenience of people who require such a diet, but the abundance of over-hyped fads connected to gluten. Sufferers of the actual condition DO look like high-maintenance whiners when plenty of people (who don’t suffer from the condition) who worry about being gluten-free are then seen to be unaffected by eating gluten. It gives the impression that it’s not a real or serious condition.
    In addition, by relative comparison, gluten allergies seem so recent as to be just another fad themselves, something based on choice or some sense of superiority as one often encounters with loud and proud vegans, or vegetarians, or fruitarians, or paleos, or whatever other “new” thing comes along.

  24. From what I have seen from “Stewart – The Urkel-Like Dandy Challenged Stalker” on Jesse is that he

    1. Knows no bounderies about boy/ girlfriends. No means no!

    2. Complains/ wines profusely. No diplomacy. Very baby-like and NOT just of the ciliac issues.

    I think some people are secretly reading into the “Boys” androgeny issues and assuming his delicasy/feminine/ gaydar radiation qualities are actually being “attacked”.

    … and by attacked, I mean an 8 year-old girl gingerly tossing a pancake coin at an elbow or a boy comparing all of Stewarts’ inbalances/ poor manors/ tantrems as less macho. So a person can keep hitting on someone when they have CLEARLY have been told “No” countless times, but you take offense at her when she signifys that she is not happy with it; interesting!

    If you look real close, you can see vague possibilities of “stereotyping” but this new version of censorship or video book burning can be just as harmful, if not more. Who is the real bully here?

    1. The issue we have is how celiac/gluten-free itself is portrayed. Agreed that if anyone should have a pancake thrown at them and have to spend four days on the toilet, it should be the douche who doesn’t understand boundaries.

      But there’s also a strong message here about what kind of people are gluten-free, and how “real” the issue is. This kind of stuff feeds on what people already believe to directly affect how people with gluten intolerance are treated. The show chooses a medical diet that already gets so much flack and results in ostracism of both kids AND adults, and they use it to perpetuate the idea that it is prissy by appending it to the most whiny and disliked character. The implication: being on a special diet has something to do with a negative personality.

      Imagine the ramifications if they had: 1. done their research and learned that gluten-free is not a negative prissy thing and 2. had the “cool” kid or one of the nicer characters be on a gluten-free diet and finally 3. demonstrated that being gluten-free is ok and not a big deal. When your messaging hurts some of the kids that watch your show, makes it seem “cool” to put a gluten-free kid in a fearful situation, and feeds the overall negative stereotype about people who can’t help that they’re different, it’s ok to say there is room for change. At least, Disney responded to ~1500 people’s request so it sounds like even they may agree on some level – this did not affect the majority of their viewership and yet they judged that the episode should not air.

  25. I have allergies and I laughed… people have teased me my entire life about food sensitivities and stuff… but I can take a joke. Calm down! Taking the show off the air over this is ridiculous. “They are making fun of my gluten allergies!” haha…!

  26. I am very happy with this. However, for those of you who are complaining about how it was too late, please be glad they did it anyways and please stop complaining.

  27. Seriously people need to clam down. I have watched this show before with my nieces and they make jokes about all kinds of things including each other.Remember the show married with children it was all in fun to make people laugh it’s just a tv show if you don’t like it change the channel . Pretty soon all tv will be 100 percent serious no jokes or enjoyment .If you don’t want your kids copying it teach them the difference between reality and tv.We watched all kinds of things on TV as kids but never copied it because TV is for enjoyment so get over it people.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

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