Disney Thinks Bullying a Gluten Free Child is Funny

disney gluten free

I get emails all the time from parents who have young children with celiac disease. They pour out their souls out to me, telling me what a hard time their kids are having at school just trying to fit in while being gluten free.

They tell me how other kids put bread and other gluten filled items on their plate because they think it’s funny.

They tell me how the school will not help protect their children during lunch hours.

They tell me how their children come home from school crying.

These are children we are talking about.

So then why the hell would The Disney Channel produce a show (“Jessie”) where the most annoying character, Stuart, happens to be gluten free and is made fun of because of it?

Here’s the video:

Did they go down a “disease list” and decide which would be the funniest?

“Let’s see Bob…Cancer isn’t funny…diabetes isn’t funny…MS isn’t funny. Oh, hey Bob, what about people who need to be gluten free. Those people are so annoying. Let’s make Stewart gluten free. People will laugh and laugh and laugh.”

Here’s the thing folks. It ain’t funny. It never was funny. And it never will be funny.

So let me touch on a few things and try to enlighten you a bit.

First off…your show sucks. When somebody on Twitter notified me of the episode, I had to watch the entire thing to find the gluten-free references and it was the most painful 23 minutes of my life. If that is the crap you’re coming up with these days, Walt must be rolling in his grave. I can’t even imagine the shows that didn’t make the cut.

Second, being gluten free as an adult is a total grind. Multiply that by 50 and you now have what a child goes through. Why do think that’s funny?

And third, by having another character throw pancakes at him and then having him whine about it makes her look like a bully and him look like a total wimp. Again, I’ll ask you…why do you think this is funny?

Let me guess. Because the media has turned gluten-free into a joke and instead of taking the higher road and realizing the TRUTH about gluten-free, you simply fell in line with everyone else and turned it into comedy gold.

And to air the episode during Celiac Awareness Month was just the perfect touch.

There is a mom who has a celiac child who is so incensed about this, she has started a petition at change.org to have the episode removed from the air waves.

Here is an excerpt of what she so eloquently stated:

For my kids, this is real. They have had friends make fun of their food, been disinvited to parties because of their diet. They have been made to sit alone, have had waitstaff roll their eyes and snidely comment about their requests to make their food safe for them to eat. They have watched others, sometimes strangers and sometimes not, act as if their requests are somehow just a trend, just a request of an overanxious parent or a spoiled and coddled child.

Their condition is real, and their feelings are real. They are ostracized for a condition for which they did not ask, and because of which they will spend their entire lives having to make exceptions and special requests, all to keep them healthy and safe. 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.

We are asking the Disney Channel to stop airing the episode ‘Quitting Cold Koala’ on the ‘Jessie’ show, and to stop using gluten-intolerance as an excuse to bully children with any disease, disorder or disability.

I could not have said it better myself.

Please sign the petition here.

Update on 05/18: Disney agreed to pull the episode! If you notice a pleasant scent in the air, that my friends is the sweet smell of success. Kudos to everybody who helped spread the word. Alas, the episode is still available on their OnDemand channel…I’m working on getting that removed.

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206 thoughts on “Disney Thinks Bullying a Gluten Free Child is Funny”

  1. Horrible, but timely. FARE released a PSA this week about food allergy bullying to help raise awareness that they are a serious health issue (as is celiac disease) – the video is really hitting home for a lot of moms like the one who wrote you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0AfuBAsJKY

    I don’t know how I would have dealt with having CD as a kid – now at least I can use expletives and not get sent to my room!

  2. Don’t just stop with the petition, if possible shame Disney on social media too. To be honest, this is classic Disney. If you’ve ever watched the mindless drivel on their channel, they’ve never celebrated or appreciated any person who is really different from the so-called “cool” crowd. It encourages kids to treat others as less than who are different from them or who don’t fit into the right image — whether it’s suffering from a illness or a disability. And these children are going to turn into the adults leading our country. Scary.

    I’m so glad that this “channel” wasn’t around when I was growing up.
    When I become a mom, I will not let my children watch this crap.

    1. Agree with you on that. I think Disney is the best of bullying kids and making them think that mocking anyone is the way to go.

      I get what you’re saying and I think this video is in poor taste, but for multiple reasons. . . why couldn’t it be the “cool” kid who has celiac, instead of the nerd?

      I was made fun of, ignored, etc by plenty of the “cool kids” in my small school. I learned to have a hard shell and learned that those people basically had parents who thought that being “in” was more important than being a loving and generous human being. This behavior continues to be type cast in movies and television shows.

      Does it hurt, yes, but you also learn who your real friends are, etc.

      DO the reverse thing back to these kids, have the kick@ss birthday party with fabulous cake, pizza, etc and then have all those kids who were invited talking about it at school and shaming those who made fun of someone for the way they were created by god/born. It is never cool to do that and I think we have too many people who try to keep up with the gross kardashians or try to be like that gross ceo of abercrombie/fitch.

  3. This is unbelievable! You better believe I signed the petition and have asked everyone I know to sign also. My son has celiac disease and will be gluten-free for the rest of his life. This is no laughing matter!

  4. Signed the petition and tagged it to my facebook page. This is ridiculous… I know I deal with social isolation every day from having celiac. How much harder is it for kids?

  5. Totally agree making fun of people in any way is not right. I have 3 in the family gluten intolerant.
    Not a health fanatic at all and would love not to have to cook that way.
    But no choice. They are sick on wheat and feel so much better when they don’t eat it.
    It’s real. I prolly wouldn’t believe it either if I hadn’t experienced it with my family first hand.

  6. Bullying is never funny. It isn’t just a problem when it happens to one subset of people, it is a problem every individual time it happens. It makes me sick to my stomach to see a major corporation like Disney who exists to market things to children promote bullying a child for any reason. They haven’t had a lot of good press this month. It looks like it is going to be round three now.

  7. I wonder if there’s grounds to sue Disney under the disability act ?
    In the US Celiac’s Disease is classified as a disability and I’m pretty sure it’s against the law to discriminate against someone due to their disability. Disney are potentially inciting discimination.

  8. you guys are over reacting there has been worse discrimination. and if your kid feels that a disney show is hurting his feeling it’s as simple as tuning your channel to pbs, some people are just very sensitive.

      1. If someone threw peanuts at a peanut allergic child, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. It’s completely outrageous. If someone treated my 6 year old Celiac daughter this way, I would probably lose it. Thankfully, my little girl has very supportive friends and gets treated respectfully. Thanks for your part on pulling that episode. Obviously, Disney is quite ignorant on the severity of this autoimmune disorder.

    1. No Jonathan. We are not too sensitive. You are entitled to not believe Its complete trash, but you can not claim we are too sensitive. Do you have Celiac Disease???? Does your child???? I recently had my 11 year old nephew rub his hands all over my arms at a family BBQ Saying, “gluten…gluten…..I am rubbing gluten all over you!” He did it several times and I finally yelled in his face. I realize he is little but he needed to know it was not accetable.This is show helps society to remain assholes about our disease! People idolize people on TV and unfortunately what they do and say influences many people and their opinions. This is how the large scale opinion trickles down into the general population.

        1. My whole family is GF. Our friends don’t make fun of us and bully us. My friends at church always try to be sure there is something my kids can eat whenever possible. Perhaps rather than removing the episode, they can present a reasonable followup where the Jessie cast learns about food allergies and the consequences.

          It would also be nice to develop healthier friendships based on respect, not popularity.

        1. I have adult children and have taken enough child psychology that I must respectfully disagree. 11 is young and it’s definitely not old enough to handle this type of bullying alone.

          The scars that kids get in middle and high school last their whole life – kids commit suicide over it even. Don’t minimize someone else’s pain. Bullying is never okay for any reason.

          1. Mardee, I’m not sure you read the comment that he was responding to. The 11 year old in question wasn’t being bullied. He was the bully.

      1. I bravo that response as well. When this first came to light, I shared a story on my FB, one of many stories, of such treatment. When my child was 8, I caught a boy throwing crackers at her on the playground. She was collapsing in tears because of the fear of hurting for days on the toilet and vomiting. My own father finally saw the light after attending a couple of our R.O.C.K. meetings, but before then had admonished me for protecting her too much, etc. He now does not take that stance after seeing kids huggin me with emotion because they had a cake they could eat at the party. Perhaps some of these people who are so eager to say we are over sensitive should visit one of our parties too:)

      2. Amber, barring some issue that would cause the 11 year old to have a mental capacity of a much younger child, that age is NOT too young to understand.

        We recently moved my mother into our home for various reasons. She has Celiac Disease. I am awaiting testing. If I am diagnosed, my children will undergo testing. My husband does not have CD as far as we know (no symptoms, first line diagnosed family, etc.) Even my 4 year old understands the need to take care to avoid cross contamination, wash his hands after eating or handling gluten, etc. So no, the typical 11 year old should not be too young to understand that those actions are inappropriate at best, and potentially life threatening at worst.

        Also, I completely understand your reaction of finally yelling at the child. I really do. Perhaps some education of family members is needed, if it hasn’t been done yet. Even the children should be educated in this, in my opinion.

        Again, this is just my opinion, coming from my own family’s experience. You may have already tried to educate as much od your family as possible. I’m only trying to offer a suggestion on one possible way to avoid this in the future. I find that our household is constantly having to educate someone on the reasons, consequences, procedures for cooking and food prep, ingredients to avoid…. Even though my mom is currently the only person in our family with a diagnosis, I’m constantly trying to better educate myself and others in an effort to keep her healthy and safe.

    2. I’ve personally faced discrimination because of skin color, religion, etc; And now because I have food intolerances.

      Telling people that they’re too sensitive, when it’s going to basically give a rubber stamp to idiots who think its okay to treat people like shit, because they’re different than they are is not okay in my book. Especially, if it’s going to make some poor child’s life miserable. I’ve faced bullying growing up. And I’ve faced misunderstanding from others at work, who don’t know why I avoid everything under the planet to keep from getting sick.

      Whether we like it or not, t.v. shows are teaching tools, because people aren’t picking up enough books, and our kids have people as role models who basically tell them to shut it.

      Just think of this: would it be okay if that child was being made fun of if they were a special needs kid? Would it be okay if the kid was being bullied, if they were autistic, or had cancer. If they had a severe peanut allergy that could kill them, would it be “ok
      Yeah, you might not immediate, physical effects of someone who has been glutened, true. It doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. It’s like telling someone who was exposed to asbestos or radiation years earlier, that it’s not harmful, because they didn’t immediately get sick. It’s a slow killer, but it still kills if you’re allergic to it. Especially, in a person like myself who’s gone on to develop liver disease and other autoimmune issues “you can’t see” because of gluten.

      So, yeah, maybe people like myself are a little “sensitive” to something that could potentially kill us in the future (and having others make liht of it), and we should be.

    3. Of course we are not going to let our kids watch Disney BUT it is the other kids that do watch Disney that we have to worry about.

    4. Jonathan

      I do not have any children but I havea severe gluten intolerance and let me tell you it is hell for an adult so I can only imagine a child! YOU may think it is not worth getting upset about but to someone who is a parent of a child who has a gluten intolerance and is bullied it is big deal! Shame on Disney for doing this!

    5. The pancakes in the face is assault. It might even be assault with a deadly weapon. Assault is defined as an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Assault with a deadly weapon cause serious bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon. While a pancake would probably not be viewed as a deadly weapon it certainly would cause serious bodily injury to another person.

      Disney didn’t show a kid with glasses being made fun of, which is wrong also. Disney showed a kid with a serious health issue being assaulted. If you are OK with your children watching that then go right ahead I heard HBO has some great programming alone those lines. I spent most of a day in the hospital, worrying and praying my husband would leave the hospital because he got a little gluten. So no I don’t find this funny and I don’t find ignorant people like you funny either.

      1. Well said Mel. Very classily done. My grandson is reacting in the womb to gluten now. My daughter is celiac. Her Dad and I are too. I had no idea about this as she was a baby and growing up. I “fixed” every problem she had without ever knowing what was wrong. There were so many problems. I have zero tolerance for people who think this kind of problem is just us being too sensitive. They have no idea what they are talking about. You can deal with Celiac Disease but you can’t normally fix stupid.

    6. Discrimination is discrimination and should not be judged on a sliding scale. I was diagnosed last year aged 58 years and hate trying to explain my diet needs to people who dont understand that coeliac disease is a serious issue. My heart goes out to children who are made to feel different because food – an everyday requirement- is used to taunt them.
      To those who still treat coeliac disease as quirky or over rated – my cancer specialict has confirmed that my coeliac disease is directly connected to the Non Hodgins Lymphoma I have been diagnosed with.

    7. I totally agree but I know you guys r mad but its just a show!calm down and think its not really bullying you haven’t seen bullying

    8. Jonothan, the point isn’t that it is “hurting the feelings” of children with celiac disease. The point is that Disney was endorsing bullying kids with a legitimate medical condition, and most probably encouraging young children to do the same, even further ostracising those with celiac disease.

  9. First. …the show Jesse is so completely annoying and has to be one of the most stupid shows on the Disney channel. I am sick of these shows with spoiled rich brats that have no parents….REALLY, most children in the US do not have crazy nannys, live in a penthouse while their parents are God knows where.

    Second: I am apauled at this display of insesitivity about such a serious disease. First they make it the nerdy annoying kid (as if that isn’t steriotyping) then they have the idiot cook, who I don’t even know what his job really is, act like a moron about what gluten is and Jesse claims he has 5 pages in a voice like the kid is an annoying lunatic because he can’t eat gluten. Come on! This is trash and discrimination!

    I recently removed gluten from my 12 year old sons diet. I have Celiac, his blood test came back negative, but they only ran 3 of the 5 and said since they showed no increased levels there was no reason to run more. I don’t care what the test said, I am seeing major changes. That all is beside the point I am getting to….the other day my son came home and said he had tears in his eyes because he could smell the garlic bread but he knew he couldn’t have it. That is sad, and its just the beginning! !!!! This is a disease that causes a lot of other issues not to mention the purely psychological ones! I hardly ever leave the house.

  10. If my mother…… had just a teaspoon of gluten she could be hospitalized. Disney you are sick and turning young kids in to self entitle brats.

  11. What bothers me also is that they always make the child with allergies whether environmental or food a “nerd”. My kids and most of the other allergy kids we know are far from this stereotype. They play football and baseball and hockey. They look like any other kid. Shame on you Disney and Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network and even PBS has done their share. We homeschool our boys which avoids a lot of headaches. It’s not the only reason, but it sure makes the food thing easier and safer!

  12. I will sign the petition, but I also wanted to point out the following – For those parents whose child is not getting support or cooperation at school, you need to call and ask to talk to the Food Service Director.

    In most cases, these folks are trained Dietitians and/or have degrees in Dietitics. They understand the medical science behind celiac and food allergies and are happy to help accommodate your child if you ask. Often they work in the central administration building so you may not see them at school, and many people don’t even know they exist.

    Don’t ask the teacher or the principal, go straight to the knowledgeable people and they can help arrange things so that your child is safe and gets to enjoy lunch with their friends.

    How do I know? Because my adult daughter is one of these school food service professionals (certified even) and she GETS IT, and my sister-in-law is one of the leading RD’s running the program for one of the largest school districts in Colorado. She gets it too.

    My heart goes out to the kids who have to live with this. Living with it as an adult is bad enough. The school can and will help, so long as you have a doctor’s diagnosis and are talking to the right people.

    1. I hate this – made me cry. Not just the food part but portrayal of the kid who has food issues. Kept picturing my sweet little guy in his cute glasses getting treated this way by his peers when he goes to kindergarten next year. ugh.

    2. Sorry, Mardee – meant that to be a general comment not one directed at you…I can be technologically challenged sometimes 😛

    3. God, how I wish this were universally true!

      I homeschool my celiac kids because the school district could not and would not accommodate them. Oh, they claimed to be accommodating, but in reality? Not a hope.

      Here’s how lunch works: The kids bring their own and eat at their tables. There’s no cafeteria. So, their idea of accommodation is they’d take my sons (one of whom is also severely autistic and mouths everything) and put them in a separate area. Then, an assistant would wipe the tables, and my son would be allowed to go back. Do you trust that they’d remove all traces of gluten? Me neither!

      They use play-doh in the classroom. There are special food days, where all sorts of yummies are brought in, none of which my kids can eat. Every single kid eats glutenous food that makes crumbs that get everywhere. One of the local districts told me (discreetly and unofficially) to keep him home, that there was absolutely no way to guarantee his safety.

      Simply put, they cannot go to school safely. I have one who does. She’s been glutened almost constantly since I put her back in school. It got so bad last year, that I almost had to have her hospitalized. I’m not doing it again.

      So for this to be made light of by Disney (which by all accounts is AWESOME at the parks) is disgusting.

  13. THAT’s the mindless drivel kids watch today? sigh

    Bullying is never okay. Makes me angry to see this clip.

    I’ll sign the petition and forward it to everyone in my email circle.

    Considering so many people report to us how wonderful Disney World, DisneyLand and Disney Cruises are about accommodating people with Celiac and food allergies, I am stunned they would allow a show that mocks a little kiddo with food intolerances to air.

    Shame, shame.

  14. Signed Gluten Dude. What a bunch of shit! They even portray the kid as dorky, nerdy, sissified, and a host of other words I could use. Its never a joke to bully anyone for anything. I don’t have young children because mine are grown, but I have 5 grandchildren. One of my daughters has two boys. One is bullied because he has ADHD and the other one because he wears glasses. I hope my grand children NEVER get Celiac disease. I am the only one who has it in my whole family. I am older—going on 58 so I have a f–k you attitude toward people who would make fun of me. Walt Disney was an Anti-Semite. So Disney goes deep into bullying and persecuting folks. I have always been someone who will root for the underdog even if I lose—I put myself on the map. What a bunch of assholes. Nuff said!!!

    1. I was just thinking the same thing, Claudia. I am an adult who can
      easily verbally slice and dice someone in a snap if they step on my toes,
      but a wee one cannot always do this for himself.

  15. Ok, i am just going to go ahead and say (and you criticize me all you want…) i watch this show with my nine year old and i always thought it was kind of funny. Seeing this clip made me sad, not for myself but for my daughter who protects me from gluten as much as she can. For me, this clip bleeping sucks. hey jessie, what can we throw at you that could potentially fuck up your life for weeks at a time?

    XO (to GD’ers not to Disney)
    Jersey Girl

  16. This is so unfortunate for Disney because it is TRUE that they go above and beyond at all of their parks for gluten and all other allergies. It is a great experience every time because of the way they handle all of the food issues. I have never gotten sick there and I have always had lots of good fresh food and lots of good unhealthy treats too.

    I am sad they allowed this thru the cut…

  17. I have restless legs syndrome in addition to the Celiac. Many comedians think the former is psychosomatic and the plot of drug companies and therefore just as funny as hell and ready made to be mocked. And now we have wags displaying their providence given gift of callous willful ignorance and stupidity regarding Celiac.

    What bothers me is if were to unload on one of those individuals with a jab to the nose I’d be the one who got in trouble. Such is our society, let the bullies be bullies but heaven forbid having a reaction as the one being bullied.

    1. Hey David…just a word about Restless Legs (RLS), a syndrome that may be common to a lot of you out there. It certainly was for my mom, undiagnosed Celiac, with Parkinson’s and eaten up with autoimmune disease. She was drugged to rid her of her Restless Legs symptoms, would nod off unexpectedly, cutting her social life short because of the embarrassment from the side affects.

      Guess what I read about and the drug companies probably still don’t want us to know about…research that has shown that RLS may very well be a result of Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Check out the research and the treatment with the non-absorbing (non-systemic) antibiotic, rifaximin. Again, this comes to the point that docs don’t necessarily read all the research out there, it may or may not be in the CE classes they choose, and the drug reps rule. The relationship found between SIBO to RLS was a fluke…just like a lot of great discoveries. All the same, it is kind of like Celiac and not ingesting gluten…just with a much more finite term for a cure!!

      Read up and find your doc that will understand and treat. With government agencies (e.g., NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) saying things like “RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure,” it may take some hunting to get around big PHARMA. Arm yourself with the research. There have been at least eight studies, so far…(Antibiotic therapy may improve idiopathic restless legs syndrome: prospective, open-label pilot study of rifaximin, a nonsystemic antibiotic. Sleep Med. 2010 Apr ;11 (4):427 20042368)…this is one of the latest to get you started. Follow the GF-bread crumb trail in the cited papers on this one to get others.

      “Googling” scientific papers is great…wouldn’t it be great if most of our docs were so inspired. It puts a lot of power in the hands of the people. BTW…I will be starting my PhD in Public Health Education in the next year focusing on Celiac to put more public pressure on our “medical community” to come around.

      Best to you…it doesn’t have to be life long!!

  18. I thing I think is sad is the fact that people :like yourself” can’t separate what is fantasy and what is reality. It is a TV show that is probably in the category of a “comedy. It is suppose to be funny people. It was funny.. I laughed at it… laughed more when the girl throw the pancakes at the boy….

    I only clicked on this because I had family that has this and thought it was going to be something serious and it turned out to be nothing at all but a waste of my time…

        1. Here here Irish and GD!!!
          James – I laugh off a lot, and I teach my son that life is life – it is what it is, we deal with the cards we been dealt and we be grateful for the goodness we have not sad about a few allergies – onward. But if anyone’s gonna put my kid down because of his allergies they gonna have a mama bear on them like no tomorrow, sure maybe it’s funny if its not relevant to you or anyone you love… If someone ever threw peanuts at my son God help me what I might do… To me that’s what’s upsetting is that clips like this almost give impressionable children permission to act in this way – children James, do not know the difference between fantasy and reality… It is show for children who watch tv and think hahaha that was funny I should do that to so and so to get a laugh… As if that doesn’t happen! My own son is perfectly capable of seeing something like that and acting it out even though he has food allergies. That is the issue… Not the stupid show, but how’s it going to make things worse for other children with celiac disease.

    1. James, if that’s the only reason you clicked on it, and you thought it was going to be funny, why are you making comments on here?
      The people that comment here have serious health issues related to gluten.
      Disney is making fun of and bullying a character that has these same health issues.
      Do they put sticks in a character’s wheelchair spokes? NO!
      Do they rearrange the furniture for a blind character? NO!
      Do they fill a diabetic child’s glass with sugar? NO!
      Do they make fun of a cancer patient’s baldness? NO!
      So why make fun of one with celiac? And if they are going to poison this character with gluten – they should show the results of that. Not the child racing for the bathroom, but maybe the vomiting, the hideous rash, the migraine, the lethargy that lasts and lasts.

    2. James, you should shut it. If I had a pancake thrown at me a crumb happened to fly into my mouth, the reaction my body would have would not be entertaining in the least. How about I come sprinkle some rat poison on your food and we can get some amusement from your reaction. If you don’t get our point, shut your Eff-n face!!!! Ass.

    3. You’re right. Picking on a kid, laughing at him and throwing gluten at him when he has an illness is HILARIOUS! I for one think it is absolutely okay to let children who are not yet at an age where they can always differentiate between what is real and what isn’t watch this stuff because teaching them that it is okay to repeat these actions is definitely a good idea. Perpetuating the stereotype that the dorky kid is always the one with food problems was just icing on the cake really and just made it that much funnier. I mean, who doesn’t want our children learning to go to school and pick on other kids. Especially if it means throwing gluten on the celiac’s plate so that they have to go hungry all day!

      All sarcasm aside, you are obviously a troll, a bully, or an asshole. Possibly all three. If you found that funny though, whichever of the other two you are you are most assuredly qualified for number three.

    4. James these shows are not “fantasy” this isn’t sci-fi channel. These shows are intended to portray an albeit not likely scenario to any majority of kids in the world but still a “real” like lifestyle/situation. Children who watch these shows mimic these kids’ hairstyles, fashion, slang, and yep, if they see attitude and bullying etc that too. Why not just show explicit drug use if it’s all just “fantasy” and you expect 8 and 10 yr olds to read between the lines and just remember oh that’s not real and oh you shouldn’t do that.

      And at the SAME TIME, Disney will interject between shows with their little end bullying campaigns using characters/actors from their shows. What freaking hypocrites. They want to tell kids not to bully and to be sure they alert adults regarding bullying while in the SAME BREATH they portray other children in their show bullying another child for his differences or his disability or any other reason. And as well expect them to go between “fantasy” and real life in between sequences and say oh it’s ok when the same kid is bullying a character on the show but just so long as I don’t do it. And I won’t get any ideas or change my behaviors and thoughts by watching this subliminal message? Um, yeah.

  19. I signed it. Kids don’t need to be inspired to new forms of cruelty, and that’s really what happens with these Disney shows.

    I used to work in daycare. Whatever those kids saw that week on the Disney channel was what was acted out in daycare, regardless of its appropriateness. So if Miley Cyrus was pulling someone’s hair on the show, that’s what my kids would do too, because they saw it on the Disney channel, and were too young to understand that what happens on television is not something that you should imitate (I hope their parents thank me for working on that lesson, otherwise their kids would be Jersey Shore lookalikes). I took to watching some of the shows I knew that they watched in order to understand what I was in for that week.

    Way back when, the Disney channel was this great network for kids to watch with friendly, safe fare. Now its on the off list along with MTV and Bravo for their increasingly crappy programming.

  20. I’m absolutely appalled by this!!! My peanut & egg allergic son is in martial arts because of what I’ve heard, I’ve ripped into more than one parent over thoughtless comments about “all” his allergies, I tell him straight up he’s got to know how and when to fight because of the high prevalence of bullying towards kids with food allergies. He’s 5 and he says to me often “I wish you could eat gluten and dairy mama and I wish I could eat peanuts and eggs” but this???!!!? From Disney????!!!! Unacceptable!!! Making fun of a child for being sick – shame on you!!! We own timeshares by Disney world, we were planning to return there every second year, in part because they are suppose to be the best for looking after people with food allergies – but with this on their tv channel it is permitting, in a way, a hate crime against a CHILD – it is sickening!! I’m rethinking our future vacations if there isn’t a huge huge huge public apology and a follow up from them making this right!!! Promoting bullying – Disney I am shocked and appalled by this.

  21. Grow up people … TV has made fun of food allergies for decades … the little kid terrorizing his babysitter by chasing him with a jar of peanut butter … or making fun of vegans … or how about the kid that was teased when his friends came over and found out he had two sets of dishes ..one kosher; one not. This show makes fun of the kid for everything not just his food allergies, let’s start a petition for everytime he is teased for being feminine, or too smart or his clothes … Disney Channel has become the training grounds for the Abercrombie and Fitch crowd … how about we start a petition to turn off the TV !!! And yes my child has multiple food allegies … and the school has not been as supportive as I would have liked … if a child happens to bring in something with nuts ( let’s face it sometimes peanut butter is all that left in the cupboard that morning) he has to sit at the “nut” table .. parents felt their child was being punished because another child was allergic to something. No one wants to be the kid at the “nut” table either … and that kid was treated like he was a terrible person not being sensitive enough !!! My child is on a Primal Diet and I am forbibben by the school to send in raw dairy products because they ” present a real and know danger to students and staff” … Just turn off the TV and go for a bike ride okay?

    1. “TV has made fun of food allergies for decades.”

      So why don’t we raise our voices then Dea? That’s what we are trying to do here. Turning off the TV is great…but that just hides it from your own little world. If you want to make change, you need to make noise. Otherwise, it’s just status quo.

    2. Shutting off the TV and expecting a better world is like not voting then bitching that you don’t like your politician. People who don’t like the world try to change it. Perpetuating bullying on TV isn’t ok. Saying that it is ok just because that is the way it has been for years is like saying segregation and discrimination based on skin color are ok because hey… it was done for years. Just because something has been done, or has been done for years, doesn’t make it right. Someone with a backbone and a voice needs to stand up and say that this shit needs to stop here.

      1. well, you are just making it easy for me now, Addy. I was going to reply, but you nailed it, so

        Yeah, what she said!

  22. You are right it isn’t funny, but no disease or disorder is. We should be making stand for all of them not just one. BTW diabetes gets made fun of more then any other I’ve seen.

  23. Guys – make sure that you’re tweeting Disney channel PR @DisneyChannelPR and posting on their Facebook page about this.

    Things I think we should rally for – a FREE insertion of a Celiac Disease Foundation PSA or FARE PSA into the next episode of Jesse, AND a public apology.

    Man, these are KIDS. I guess it’s one thing when we’re all grown up and fend for ourselves, but throwing pancakes with someone with a gluten “allergy” who is already portrayed as a nerd? NOT COOL, Disney.

  24. I saw this and immediately thought, it has to be the show Jessie. The tween sitcom so offensive I refuse to watch it with my daughter (I watch the others, out of love for her). This show also promotes stalking and inappropriate behavior. It was the same character actually. The character was 8 I think, as was his “love interest.” Who was told that his repeated unwanted advances were the price she paid for being so cute. One advance involved offering to “rub her feet…with oil.” The stalking involved his being in her house without her permission, him coming along on outings without her permission, and giving her very expensive and wildly inappropriate gifts. So am I surprised this show has crossed the line again? Not one bit.

  25. So unbelievable, they shouldn’t be making fun of any kid with any disease, especially as the nerd character…I signed a few minutes ago at 770 and its already up to 880….and posting to facebook

  26. I’ve never seen the show, so I’m asking ignorantly: Is the kid actually gluten intolerant or does he actually have Celiac’s? The clips shown here don’t make it clear. Because they could just be making fun of a kid who is being particular just to be particular. Which, if you have children, you know this is pretty common. I am completely anti-bully, but this could be somewhat innocuous.

      1. I know it’s not. I’m gluten intolerant, too.It’s painful and it sucks. Just thought I would ask.

          1. Yikes – there are a few Steph’s & Stephanie’s on here…
            Anyway, just wanted to say thank you so much Gluten Dude for posting a report about this show. Sigh…this bothers me deeply. How does this crap truly benefit anyone? Again, would they throw peanuts at a kid with peanut allergies – WTH?? And would people find that funny? I signed the petition – and it looks like we are now at 1667…


  27. I, too, have seen this “Jessie” show and found it AWFUL, gluten-free bullying aside.

    There was also an episode of “Two Broke Girls” (which is another awful show) where in the very first scene, a customer came into the girls’ restaurant and asked if they had anything gluten-free and the bitchy one of the two girls made fun of him. Delightful.

  28. Obviously, I’m pretty tweaked about the gluten-free kid being picked on (and portrayed as a nerd? Seriously, Disney, update your stereotypes). But it goes deeper than that – it’s bullying, plain and simple. It’s irresponsible of Disney to air anything that promotes bullying. Period.

  29. This breaks my heart. I remember how difficult it was to just have lactose intolerance as a pre-teen and teen. Not being able to eat gluten at that age, or younger, would be even more difficult. To belittle someone’s medical condition, and to give an example to children that they ought to bully someone else for it is horrifically wrong.

  30. My kids are not celiac but eat gluten-free. This means I have to be on top of every event, party, field trip, playdate, etc. to make sure they have food they can eat. At school, they have special food when everyone else has a cupcake (at least I make things that taste good!). My daughter, 7 who is also DF, feels very different sometimes. For the record, 7 yr olds love this silly show. I think if she saw it, it would make her feel badly. I signed the petition, left a comment, and shared on fbook.

  31. Bullying to stop bullying, what are we really teaching our kids about bullying when that is exactly what is being done here? First, I would just shut the television off, get your kids involved in something that doesn’t have them sitting around for hours on end watch worthless drivel. Second, educate those who are unaware of the disease your child has, people have a tendency to make fun of things they don’t understand.

    1. Hi Heath. Are you equating the calling out of a multi-billion dollar company with that of the bullying of people with food allergies? Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly…

      1. No, but bullying is what this discussion is about. Some of the comments on here are nothing more than supporting what people are upset about, bullying. I have nothing against calling out what Disney has done but to justify bullying to fight bullying is just as bad regardless of the topic.

        1. I understand your point Heath. There is a fine line between passion and anger and when it crosses, as it often does, it may come across as bullying. But Disney needs to hear this.

    2. Please explain a case of “bullying” on this page or in this article? Do you even know what it means.

      Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.[2][3] If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing. The victim of bullying has been referred to as a “target”.

      The only thing going on here is people standing up for a set of people who have been treated as subhuman in this ridiculous tv show. Who is “bullying” disney? This is akin to blaming a victim of assault for suing their aggressor as bullying them back. Really? How ridiculous!

  32. On another, more positive note, if you get the chance (or the video comes live on CNN) there’s a video called “We were those weird kids” about two brothers (twins) who had food allergies (they were allergic to eggs, nuts and seafood). They were socially isolated as kids, but grew up to create a smaller, electronic epinephrine pin. One brother became an engineer, another brother became a doctor.


  33. Lighten up! This is absolutely not bullying. Just because someone thinks their ‘feelings’ are hurt, is not a sign of bullying. Frankly, kids whose parents must control every little thing that enters their bodies, are funny. They could also make fun of this boys mom,, for her obvious Munchhausen by Proxy syndrome.

      1. gee, getting an usual extra flurry of trolls and asshats today, Dude??


        David’s right…a bop on the snout would feel good, but we’re too nice for that sort of thing.

        None of these people who would make such absurd insensitive comments have celiac, children or a heart.

        Breathe in peace, breathe out kindness…and later, have a giant glass
        of gin.

        Pay them no mind, my friend.

          1. I’m on it right now, toots…..It’s 4 o’clock. 🙂

            A friend of mine died yesterday. She had celiac and it gave her all sorts of health complications. Celiac is not “funny” and should not be depicted as such.

            And I am thinking in the large scheme of things, the people posting hateful things today…are irrelevant. Life is too short for us to get
            ourselves all worked up over them.

            You raised awareness of this issue, people responded and now, it is up to Disney to make it right.

            1. IrishHeart, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Yes, this is the extreme side of food intolerance. And what can happen when people don’t realize it’s happening.

              I’m just shaking my head at the ignorance of some of the commenters. It can’t be real, let’s blame the mother. My daughter’s food reactions don’t show up on blood or skin tests, just with elimination/addition testing (formal trial and error). Plus one episode of anaphylaxis we still don’t know the cause of. Do you think the allergist wrote off our experiences as mommy making it all up? Nope. He just wrote out the script for the epi-pen.

              And if it turns out that Disney was making the character overly picky or subject to mommy’s whims, instead of having a real food intolerance, all the more reason to object. Because it makes people think it’s okay to tell those with intolerances they’re faking it or over-reacting. That’s a very dangerous view.

            2. Cyndi,
              I am sorry– I just saw this post (not sure how I missed it) but.
              anyway, thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate it.!

            3. oh Steph!
              Thank you so much, hon.
              if there is anything I can do to help, please call on me. The dude knows where to find me.
              You’re a doll for extending your kindness.

    1. You obviously don’t deal with a child suffering from the disease or bullying. I’ll pray you never have to.

    2. Again, Jenny – would you also find it funny if they threw peanuts at a child with a peanut allergy? Would you also find it appropriate if they threw donuts at a child with diabetes? How disturbing does this need to be for you to get offended – or have compassion?

      1. Guys, trust me! this Jen… is a “drive by troll”
        I see it all the time on celiac,com

        Do not waste your breath on her.

  34. Just to let you all know.. the petition has already hit 1000 signatures. Apparently this hit a lot of people – quickly.

    And for the people who think this is an overreaction: I will gladly trade my perpetual fear over whether everything I eat is going to make me gut-hugging sick and drop to my knees in front of a national audience of my peers (which happened to me at my academic discipline’s major conference). I will gladly trade my increased risk of intestinal cancer. I will gladly trade the lonely feeling I have at gatherings when everyone else is eating and I have to abstain and feel like the odd person out. I will gladly trade the inability to think clearly, the physical exhaustion, the skin rashes and reactions. I have been through both chemotherapy and celiac. I can’t tell you which is worse.

    But the bottom line is: any humor at another person’s expense isn’t very funny. It isn’t just this: it’s also Portlandia’s Allergy Pride Parade sketch. But that’s not picking on vulnerable kids…

  35. I find it interesting that, while this show is obviously offensive to children/parents who deal with gluten intolerances/allergies, Disney is actually fantastic about accommodating these same dieting issues in their resorts and theme parks. The first time I had ever heard about celiac disease was from a mother whose son had recently been diagnosed. We were on our way to Walt Disney World and she shared with me how the Disney restaurant staff/chefs went above and beyond to fix special dishes for her son, going so far as to order a new Mickey-shaped waffle iron so he could enjoy gluten free waffles for breakfast. This was several year ago and since then Disney has only improved their food service towards those with allergies and special dietary needs.

  36. First, thank you for bringing this to my attention. Second, I’m appalled that the writers of this show thought this was a good idea, let alone funny.
    I’m livid not only because I personally have Celiac Disease but, my 7 year old son has a gluten intolerance as well. He has been bullied at school for what he can and can not eat and to allow this to air tonight is outrageous!
    I called the Disney Channel’s main headquarters (818-569-7500) asking to speak to the manager in charge of customer relations. After 3 transfers I was sent to a voicemail to sound my opinion. I left my message but I’m still on the hunt to talk to a person. If you know of a phone number please let me know.
    I’m also in the process of emailing the head of the Disney Channel and any other executive I can find. I may not get the episode pulled off the air but they damn sure are going to know that we in the GF community are not going to put up with this nonsense!

    1. So since I posted the petition at 9 pm last night, we’re over 1200 signatures to this point. I’m trying to figure out how to get the message to the executive producer at the Jessie show. If anybody has any success on finding a relevant contact, please let me know!

      1. And I’m one of those signatures Amy.
        I’m still on the hunt for current contact information. I do know that Adam Bonnett, newly promoted Executive Vice President for Original Programming, leads the programming development team for Jessie. But I’ve yet to find his email unfortunately.

      2. I’ve been tweeting and Facebooking and found some of the actor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.


        Let’s start talking to the actors, too! They need to know that we think this is wrong!

        Amy, the press articles about his promotion mention an agent with email: rita.cooper.lee@disney.com – that would lead me to believe his email is adam.bonnett@disney.com

  37. Disney and all their money should be helping raise awareness instead of laughing at such a serious topic!

  38. Thank you for sharing this GD, it upsets me so much to see disney encouraging people to bully, it makes me feel worse to see them encouraging people to bully about dietary requirements. If that boy were allergic to peanuts, nobody would consider throwing handful at him. If he were allergic to cats, nobody would rub a cat in his face. It’s frustrating seeing stuff like this, and knowing that thousands of kids are watching this and learning that behaviour like this is acceptable.

    After speaking with my daughters current daycare and future kindergarten, I have ordered her a medicalert bracelet. It states her name, my contact information, and that she can’t have Gluten (I also included the most common gluten-containing ingredients). Hopefully this way she will be taken seriously. If she shows someone something tangible that says this is a medical condition, and that this is what she can’t eat, maybe they will be less inclined to view it as a trendy diet or something less serious than it is.

  39. Why is it funny to bully a gluten-free child? For the same reason it’s funny to bully overweight kids. It’s not.

  40. You are completely distorting the issue by confusing a very real disease with a baseless and unscientific umbrella fear of gluten. Just like candida in the 90s, gluten is now blamed for every health problem that comes down the pike. In reality gluten is little more than the target du jour for people’s unjustified fears and ignorance of science.

    Yes, eating too much wheat, especially non-whole grain wheat, will result in eating too many carbohydrates and too many calories. That’s it. 90% of people who think they need to restrict gluten don’t. They only need to eat better.

    That said, I don’t think it’s particularly funny to ridicule people’s ignorance, but this show is NOT bullying someone with an actual disease.

    1. But that’s the point Bob. Gluten free has totally become a fad because of sh*t like this. There is a small population of people out there like the people in this community who need to be 100% gluten free because their health depends on it. Crap like this simply minimizes it. And to make a child appear weak and wimpy while also portraying him as gluten free is the stereotype we are fighting against.

  41. It’s not just Disney, various other programmes like Glee do this as well (though not as bad as this clip). I generally like Glee but I do find it annoying and upsetting when “gluten-free” is used as a way to mark out the weird and difficult character. In this case it’s the teacher of the choir for deaf children. In one scene he decides to give in and eat some sort of gluten-containing goody regardless – which also really annoys me. Why is it never taken seriously?? Why are we always the laughing-stock?!

  42. I have celiac as well as my ten year old daughter. I don’t find this video offensive and the boy is not being bullied. I enjoy watching Disney channel with my girl and we love watching Jessie and Ant Farm together. The good news is that it looks like it is drawing attention to gluten free diets not making the boy feel bad about himself. People need to lighten up and enjoy life more.

    1. Let me get this straight…you enjoy that show??

      Ok, we’ll stay on topic. How in the world will this make it easier for your daughter? Kids emulate this crap.

      I agree about lightening up and enjoying life to the fullest. But aren’t some things just worth the fight?

      1. Claudette sounds more like a kid to me than a mother. Never is bullying kids about their disorder okay.

        1. I think it should be noted that this second Claudette is not the same as the first Claudette who posted earlier in the thread.

          what are the odds we’d have 2 Claudettes? 🙂

          1. There is only one Claudette. I posted both responses. Should have hit reply, don’t have my proper glasses with me.

            1. NO sorry ..there is

              Another Claudette who posted EARLIER IN THE THREAD.

              and she does NOT share your view at all.

            2. Gotcha, I see it now. I am not wearing the correct glasses. I don’t run into many that share my name. As far as opinions, everybody has them. Have a nice night.

  43. I am crying as I read through all of these. I’m sorry Irish Heart! What a terrible thong to be going through. But what struck me most was that i was overwhelmed at the gf community! What amazing, beautiful souls. I got glutened by a gluten free resturant the other day. Severly. Reading all your wonderful, supportive empathetic comments made me regain some faith in our world. I read the other day (this is not verbatim) ‘we should not raise our children to be tough to deal with the world, we should raise our children to be kind and sensitive so the world will change’ and that, my friends is what I see loads of here. You go guys. Xxx

  44. Yes dude, we enjoy this show. No offense, I think ya’ all are overreacting. I am much more concerned with GMOs and Monsanto than I am of a comedy show. My family follows a Paleo diet and we buy organic. Soon it will be very difficult to find completely organic. Fight Monsanto, the real bully and enemy, not some kiddie tv show.

  45. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I unsubscribed from this channel years ago as I think the writers are 15 year olds who lack the mental wherewithal to put two funny words together, much less a whole show.

  46. The way this was done was stupid, but I would say, don’t pull the episode; get them to revisit the story, having the character learn about celiac disease and the dangers of gluten and why their harassment of this character was wrong. Taking away a negative without a positive lesson forward doesn’t help anybody. By addressing the uneducated misconceptions, it can correct something misguided and be a learning tool in the process.

    1. Yeah.Show the poor kid passing out while diarrhea blasts out of his rectum like from a high pressure hose. Show him fart in class and clear the room. Show the boils that need to be lanced because his immune system is going into the tank. Show the toilet paper soaked with blood from fissures on his rectum. Show the lethargy, the splitting headaches, the ulcers on his tongue. The nausea, too, gotta have some nice vomiting. That’s hilarious, no? How about an upper and lower GI and some radiologist punching his stomach trying to get the barium chloride to move. Sounds funny to me.

      That was my experience as a sixteen year old with Celiac Disease. Hilarious.

        1. No offense to Brian. Just pissed off about it and attempting to point out the reality some of us faced.

  47. Well, I’ll say this for Disney: They stepped up and pulled the episode off the air and issued an apology on Twitter.
    I must admit that I’m rather surprised by their actions given large corporations usually only respond via silence. However, that just goes to show how strong the GF community is. I’m so very proud to say I’m a part of it!
    Thank you Amy and Dude for your continued awareness.

  48. VICTORY!!

    Disney has pulled the episode and will not air it. You won’t believe the complaints they’re getting on their Facebook page for canceling the episode. Will make for a nice blog post on Monday.

    Well done everyone!

    1. Awesome! I was just heading down to the bottom of the post to comment that I was going to sign the petition. Watching that video made me want to cry.

  49. Actually I don’t agree. I say lighten up. The world has changed a lot with changes in dietary requirements and needs. I”m GF and I make fun of it sometimes. If you can’t laugh you’ll cry.

    I actually thought it was kind of funny when he got upset about the bread touching him. E,arly on in dealing with this I began feeling like I couldn’t look at a crumb without having a problem. It’s important to laugh at ourselves, kids too.

  50. this is a clearly lobbying from the ‘processed food/gmo’ industry. after all if your aim for gluten free your not going to buy packaged cookies. youll learn to make them at home with ingredients of your choosing.

    disney has always been propaganda. and evil at that. look at the role models we got from the britney spears / justin timberlake disney club crew

    as adults we need to make conscious choices and vote with our dollars. if everyone stopped going to disneyland or buying their crap it would all go away very quickly.

  51. I can’t believe the crap t(w)eens have to watch on TV. No wonder they act like turds. I signed the petition, and posted on FB. While my child is not Celiac, she is allergic to wheat and we have to live on a strict diet as well. So I get the difficulty, though do not have to worry about the immense seriousness that others do. I hate TV and how it teaches everyone to think and behave. And Disney of all channels should have a higher set of guidelines for character development and all since it is put into the minds of developing children. Ack!

  52. Wow – This actually nearly made me cry!
    When I think back to my last job in an office, where I was working when I because gluten free, it was like I was a joke. That video up above took me straight back to how I felt. It was a nightmare, and I can’t imagine how much harder it must be for children.
    And for making it look like bullying is ok??? This is sickening 🙁

  53. I find it not only disgraceful for Disney but also an insult to all good memories I have related to Disney. This company should question their values and what they stand for. Mindless jokes don’t help anyone. Food sensitivity is becoming a huge problem this society is not going to be able to handle easily. Please use the resources and media power wisely.

  54. I agree with Sanja and several others above. Values need to be questioned. I think it has always been that way with the human race. With every decade faults can be pointed out in every show. Any 50’s and 60’s sitcom puts women in the ‘dah’ zone. Go back farther and minority groups were badly discriminated. So now they pick on kids with gluten allergies. What’s next? We are supposed to be progressing. We are regressing. People die from food sensitivities.

  55. This makes me sick! I myself don’t have Celiac but my husband does. I eat GF for his safety. When we gave children there is a chance that one of them will have it too. This is completely unacceptable!

  56. That show is asinine. Disney seriously screwed up this time…The made the poor kid a nerd to boot. Celiac has hurt me beyond belief…My family and friends have been kind and understanding….they bust their butts to make sure things are right for me….especially my mother in law! We are not stupid or nerdy…we just need to eat a little different. I don’t see anything funny about that! Anyone who treats be badly has no place in my life….my husband’s cousin made a few nasty remarks about me when I got sick after dinner out with them. My husband told him off up one side and down the other! Lol…..we no longer associate with him….hubby’s doing…not mine…he calls his cousin an asshole!

    1. I think it’s sad that instead of explaining that it’s a serious situation not to be taken lightly, the response that was chosen was to tell his cousin off and write him out of his life. Family should not be ostracized for being a bit ignorant. In fact, that IS family. hah Let’s not confuse knowledge and understanding with being so overactive that we make decisions that don’t help anyone’s case in the long run.

  57. sharlene wilson

    With a child with Coeliac disease its not a laughing matter, until you have witnessed a child look upset with a bottom lip down cause there is something she cant have its NOT funny…when the child has to ask every single time if something is safe to eat its NOT funny. Im so so glad we dont have disney channel and my daughter cant watch this. Its not ok to be bullied for something you cant eat, this is real NOT A JOKE, disney that is very sad

  58. I have been gluten free (medical reasons but not celiac) for about four months now, and I haven’t had the kinds of problems I’m hearing about on this thread. If somebody mocks or says something snide or looks at me weird, I just look at their doughnut/bagel/plate of pasta wistfully and say something to the effect of, “You have no idea how much I want (insert food item) right now. It looks so good. But if I eat it I will have both upper and lower GI pain that will last for a couple of days. And my other medical conditions will flare up also.” From that, I mostly get some pitying looks because they finally understand that this is not an affectation based on a dietary fad but that it is an actual medical condition that has serious repercussions.

    The problem I saw in that clip was not the frustration of the non-primary caregivers of the child with the allergies…it was that his parents did not provide food that was safe for him to eat. Let’s face it…if his allergies are that bad, then that kitchen is contaminated because they make things with flour there. His parents should not be allowing him to eat anything prepared in it.

    If I am going to a potluck, I either bring something that I know is safe for me so that I have something to eat or I restrict myself to fruits, veggies and meats. I don’t even touch any dips because they may be contaminated. And I got into this habit because a friend of mine has a son who is GF/CF and this is what they do. The first time they came over after he started following his dietary restrictions, I bought some cereal that had no wheat in it…but it did have oats.

    Most people don’t want to poison their guests. But when the dietary restrictions are presented with a demanding strident tone with no real guidance offered as they were the child in this clip, the ignorant person is less likely to want to go out of their way for their guest. I would actually offer the position that while the child was “bullied” by the little girl, the caregivers were also bullied by the child’s parents in that Jessie and the butler were given a complex list of written instructions (5 pages of dietary restrictions?!?), presumably with little to no advance warning so that they could prepare to accommodate the needs of the guest.

    Having seen in other comments that people with opposing viewpoints have been tagged as trolls I want to clarify one thing..I haven’t been on this site before and am only here now because a friend linked to it on FB. But I have been on both sides of the fence and my feeling is that people with special dietary needs need to be responsible for their own health and not expect others to do it for them so I felt the need to speak up.

    1. Your thoughts might be reasonable if mocking and lack of parental preparation were the only things that occurred. Things escalate to a whole new level when the pancake is thrown, and the child is forcefully exposed to gluten. There is no excuse nor argument supporting that action. It is just out right cruel. For some of us with celiac, even something as simple as gluten exposure to skin can result in blisters and rashes. Kindness and compassion need to be taught, not throwing pancakes when faced with differences- or even annoyances.

      1. I apologize Allison. Of the celiac/autistic and other people I know who are GF for medical necessity, none have skin reactions to it. In fact, the woman who has the worst case of it lives on the edge of a wheat field, so it never occurred to me that blistering is a possibility. That must make it very difficult to go anywhere or do anything. It makes my heart hurt to think about anybody, especially a child, being THAT sensitive to something as ubiquitous as gluten.

        That being said, I cannot eat gluten and I have several friends who cannot eat gluten. I’ve done research to find the hidden gluten in products and yet even I didn’t know that skin reactions could happen. Y’know what…the writers of the show probably didn’t know either. This was not malice. They did not think of the pancake as a weapon. And truthfully, it wasn’t. Even for people who suffer from celiac, skin reactions are uncommon.

        If the little girl had shoved the pancake into the kids mouth, that would be bullying. I do not view throwing the pancake as bullying. I view it as the bratty act of a bratty child who always gets what she wants. I view the writers as ignorant, and unlike stupidity, ignorance CAN be fixed.

        Ignorance has to be fixed gently. If the immediate response is fury, the student shuts down and does internalize the message. That is why people on FB and Twitter are responding the way they are. They just don’t get it and when they get yelled at for their lack of understanding the issue, the response of many people will be, f**k you. Which means they will NEVER learn. The next time the issue comes up, their residual anger will already taint their response.

        One commenter earlier suggested that this be treated legally as a case of assault with a deadly weapon. We cannot classify bread as a deadly weapon. If it were, and I go out to lunch with a friend who orders a hamburger and she laughed or coughed or even just talked with her mouth full and a bit of her bun landed on me, that should be handled with the same force of law as if she’d accidentally shot me while cleaning her handgun. I hope that we call all agree that this is unreasonable.

        Education is the answer. Petitioning Disney to take the episode off the air is a short term solution to a long term problem. Petitioning Disney to perhaps write a character into a show who does have a severe food allergy (it could even be one of the kids on Jessie…celiac goes undiagnosed often enough that it’s plausible) and has to deal with the issue would be an excellent long-term solution. And yes, after the initial “after-school special”/”very special episode” where there was a crisis, they’d deal with it lightly and with humor. There would be jokes about what happens when somebody with celiac is exposed to it. But the jokes could be respectful.

        I remember on Facts of Life there was a recurring character with muscular dystrophy. She made fun of herself and so did other. But it was lovingly done and changed the way I view people with MD, as I’m sure it did with other people. I laughed at the jokes, but my understanding of and respect for people with MD increased.

        1. Skin reactions are not rare -another misinformed assumption.

          About 15% to 25% of celiac disease patients also have dermatitis herpetiformis. Although many dermatitis herpetiformis patients don’t have overt intestinal symptoms, 90% will have intestinal damage from gluten consumption.Although a medication called dapsone can offer some initial relief from the itching associated with dermatitis herpetiformis, it carries long-term side effects. Therefore, the only long-term treatment to keep your dermatitis herpetiformis at bay is the gluten-free diet.

  59. Seriously people chill!! I’ve been a celiac since I was 5 (I’m 22 now) and I’ve never been bullied… if a kid doesn’t get invited to parties and eats alone it’s definitely not because of an allergy it’s because the others kids don’t like him (maybe he’s to shy, maybe he’s a loser, who knows…). The real problem is that disney made the celiac kid look weaker than the other kids, a proper loser, if the kid had punched them in the face right after the joke and thought them a lesson it would have been just fine. Celiacs aren’t weaker than anybody else.

  60. This clip breaks my heart and to be honest with you really surprises me. Last month I sat on a panel next to a a distributor of gluten free products for Disney theme parks. 10 years ago Disney came to them knowing that being gluten free was a serious issue and they needed a solution. While I realize that Disney is a huge company and everyone makes mistakes, this episode reminds me just how much my teenage daughter has to fight to fit in and not constantly be reminded she is different. Thanks for being an advocate as usual gluten dude!

  61. I am aware of DH which is an autoimmune reaction caused by the consumption of gluten, not by mere skin contact with gluten. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/celiac-disease/AN01623

    Any skin reaction caused by wheat products simply touching the skin is a different autoimmune reaction…an allergy. This can easily be treated with diphenhydramine (benadryl) cream. The skin contact will not cause a celiac reaction. For that to happen, the GI tract must be involved.

    Celiac is an autoimmune disorder and these do tend to have a lot of concomitant conditions. Allergies are one of those.

  62. My sons were taught during a “bullying” seminar at school, that “taunting” someone with a food allergy/intolerance was 100% bullying. To throw pancakes at a boy with a gluten-intolerance was without question bullying, and Disney was without a doubt insensitive for including this scene. It was sending mixed messages to the kids watching, many of whom probably sat through the same seminar that my sons did. Aren’t we all trying to raise our kids to be respectful and considerate of others? Ms. Raslevich took a stand .. the Dude took a stand, and I applaud them for it. Yes, I’ve read the comments … the “good, bad & the ugly”, but the majority are from people showing their support. Thank you Amy & the Dude for spotlighting that bullying in any form is just not cool. Hopefully parents who have been following this will have a dialog with their children to reinforce it, especially in a world where some TV shows do just the opposite.

  63. That is just disgusting, and it shouldn’t be happening in America. It especially doesn’t belong on a kids’ network like the so-called Disney Channel (it hasn’t been a “Disney” channel since 2006).

  64. I’m not normally “that person” that disagrees with something just because everyone else is agreeing with it… but I honestly feel like you guys are WAY overreacting in this situation. He is not being made fun of for being gluten free… they are going at him for being the annoying character that he is. What happens is, kids pick on other kids with things they know will get under their skin. If a child makes a huge deal about being gluten free (such as this “Stuart” kid does) then other kids will use it to their advantage to tease them. If a child ALWAYS complained about how he/she hates spiders and is so creeped out by them… you can bet your money that other kids are going to try to scare them with fake spiders. Not that it’s right, but it’s not necessarily bullying!!! There is a line when it comes to teasing and bullying! People need to open their eyes and realize that you can’t shelter children from these things otherwise they are going to grow up and not know how to stand up for themselves! Bullying is WRONG and should not be tolerated, but people need to realize when a child is teasing another child and not bullying.

  65. “He is not being made fun of for being gluten free.”

    Actually…he is. And being gluten-free, according to Disney, is part of what makes him annoying and weak and wimpy.

    And just because another kid is doing it doesn’t mean it’s not bullying. It’s still bullying!

    So I ask you…why is this ok?

  66. Disney rebroadcast the episode, “Quitting Cold Koala” this past week — they re-edited the episode, and omitted references to gluten and dietary restrictions altogether. In fact, they re-wrote a significant part of the show, which flipped the ending, making the annoying character somewhat of the episode’s hero. I think that they went above and beyond, and I’m very grateful that they listened to our community.

  67. You are very arrogant to do say whether bullying or anything is funny or not. People who say “It’s not funny” should say “I don’t think it’s funny” instead. Humor isn’t universal. Rape jokes, racist jokes, making fun of retards, gays, and what else are still prevalent in comedy clubs aren’t they? When someone makes a statement that something “Isn’t funny” I get offended because they might as well be telling me what to think. Personally, I find bullying funny. Or at least the way bullying is dramatized in the U.S..

  68. Hi, long-time reader, first-time commenter.

    I went to the facebook page and was reading the comments from their announcement and I am completely sickened by the comments. Calling people too sensitive because their kid didn’t get to see the new episode of a cut-rate show? Is this REALLY what the world has deemed important? I for one am glad that Disney pulled the show. I don’t have kids, but if I did, had they seen it they would understand that this is NOT okay.

  69. I watched the original episode with my nine-year old, who has Celiac. Needless to say, I was horrified by the depiction of the gluten-free character as an annoying, weak social outcast. I was so pleased to stumble across your blog and to see the response here. Bravo! Thank you for standing up and saying something!

  70. Does the character in the show have celiacs? I think the show is mocking people with diet demands they put on other for no reason. Imagine a world where everyone has crazy diets (not an actual disease). I think his parents and the kid are in desperate need of attention.

    1. Oh, for the love of mike…this post is old news!
      yet, people keep posting judgmental comments without regard to the actual issue!

      (1) FYI…..It’s not “celiacs”. It is called Celiac Disease.

      (2) and the point is….what does it matter? celiac, gluten intolerance, peanut allergy, egg allergy, etc…

      If a child has a REAL HEALTH PROBLEM from a food protein, no one should mock him/her!! Or if they are “wimpy” or “different” or whatever terms have been used. Who the hell are any of you to judge?

      What part of this are you people not getting?

      This is the most ridiculous freakin conversation I have ever witnessed…..(and that’s saying something because I see many of them on a daily basis)

      They messed this one up royally.

      If you people making comments do not have Celiac Disease or NCGS or if your child does not have either of them, then you do not get it.

      Enough. Just be quiet. You don’t get to talk on this subject.
      (yeah, I said it..,,,)

      1. Sigh…thank you Irish Heart. Geezus, I thought it was odd that this post was still receiving random hateful comments. Good grief – enough.

  71. Irishheart, this is obviously an import at topic to you and I know nothing about celic.

    I be been trying to learn more about neighborhood kids at my house everyday and now they are allergic to gluten. They’ll pass on pretzels but eat cupcakes. I don’t was to be resposible for getting a child ill so, I always ask if it some is okay for them to eat. They are at my house 4-5 hours a day and they end up eating.

    I was just questioning if “I don’t like gluten” is the same as a genuine allergy. I have a nut allergy so I get the importance of knowing exactly what I’m eating.

    I think it doesn’t help if a person claims to have an allergy if they don’t. I rather these specific kids say they are avoiding glutens not allergic.

    This wasn’t exactly a conversation, I pissed you off and ranted back.

    1. Oh, believe me, that was not a rant. 🙂
      I can rant. That was not me “ranting” at all.

      I am not sure if you really genuinely care about this topic, but I’ll tell you anyway just in case you are sincere:
      A celiac is not “allergic” to gluten. This is a misnomer.
      There is such a thing as a wheat allergy but
      Celiac is an autoimmmune disease.

      An allergy and an intolerance are two different mechanisms in the body. If you have a nut allergy, then surely you know this, so I will not belabor that point.
      I am not allergic to wheat, but I have celiac disease.

      If anyone eating at my house says they are allergic to some food, I take their word for it and make sure they do not eat it. I’ve got a friend with a shellfish allergy, so I never serve shellfish when she is here.

      If a child is eating cupcakes but not pretzels, and he has celiac, then he is cheating on the gluten free diet and you should inform his parents.
      If a child is just saying “I have a gluten allergy” but you know he is not allergic to wheat or does not have a gluten intolerance, then ask “why are you eating the cupcake then? and see what he says.

      In either case, not sure it is reason to mock or bully a little kiddo.
      Just my opinion, as always. Have a good day!

  72. Thanks, the information you provided was really helpful. I think it’s a great suggestion to just mention to their mother about what their eating and she can handle it. They’re both over 10 years old so not little kids and should have a sense of what they can/can’t eat.

    I work full-time when most of the snacking is happening (my parents are my childcare) while I’m at work. My house is the preferred place for all the kids hang out. So the new food restrictions have added given me one more thing to worry about while at work.

  73. Gluten free is made fun of because for every 1 child who really has a problem there are a thousand who just have overprotective moms who buy all their food at trader joe’s.

  74. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for a child with celiac disease to go through their daily lives. This is probably because I never thought deeply about gluten allergies until I was nearly fifty, and finally convinced myself that Gluten was most likely the cause of so many of my physical problems.
    Every day of a child’s life is spent trying to feel “normal” and just trying to fit in. Any peer pressure we feel or remember as an adult is magnified by a hundred as a child. Even innocent jokes from a child’s friend can that effect a child’s psyche.
    I saw this clip a while ago didn’t think much of it, my main reaction was simply Disney should be smarter than this; they should know someone will take offense to it.
    After watching it again I have at least two major problems with it. First they gave this condition to the little pain in the butt kid, the character any child watching does not want to be. The shows poor attempt at a joke is how this child’s condition is a pain in the butt to all those around him. If they had any idea how the child feels each time their condition inconveniences those around them they would know it’s nothing to laugh at. Second the pancake scene, as an adult the scene seemed innocent enough to me, I thought the little girl was throwing pancakes at him because of what he said and not because they had gluten in them. But this is a Disney show it’s not for adults but for children a small child will take from that scene that it’s funny to throw wheat products at a child with celiac disease.
    Thank you for bringing this to my attention and including the excerpt for the mothers petition to help me look at this from a child’s point of view.
    Let’s hope Disney see’s things this way, and creates a character who is young, cool and has celiac but no one uses it to make bad jokes at his expense. It’s simply one small part of an average child’s life.

  75. How ignorant of Disney but I will say this since I’m not sure when this episode came out. Disney is SLOWLY and I mean slowly changing it’s mind on allergies. Granted it still needs a LOT of work but at least in their park’s they’ve make allergy friendly places, that include gluten free items. Again they still need a lot of work but keep up the fight for more knowledgeable people in Disney.

  76. I don’t believe they were making fun of him for being gluten free at all….. If you watch more episodes they try to make him high maintenance and a hypercondriac (however u spell it) in other episodes they make him preppy and scared to get dirty and he thinks he has a bunch of allergys that he doesn’t have . It’s a kids show on Disney their intent was far from trying to hurt kids . Disney spends lots of priorities on trying to prevent bullying.

  77. I’m actually crying right now. This mad me so angry and sad! When they threw pancakes in his face that did it for me. I’m am no longer going a fan of Disney!

  78. It’s actually very surprising to me that Disney is responsible for this. One of the few places I felt comfortable since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease was in Disneyland. They go out of their way to accommodate dietary restrictions, and I ate at 4 different restaurants in the park without getting sick. At every restaurant, the chef came out and assured me they would personally prepare everything separately. It’s heartbreaking they aren’t taking the same stance with their television department.

  79. We watched this episode a few days ago & it appears to have been edited. My kids were horrified after watching the two segments. When we watched the episode on demand the gluten segments were gone.

  80. disney channel also bullied homeschoolers on Good Luck Charlie….. in one episode PJ starts dating this girl who’s homeschooled so they go to her prom and it ends up being in her basement. Some children might find this amusing but I found it down right insulting . For some reason homeschoolers and made out to be un-socialized kids who are just getting out of doing school altogether… but I’ve found that I have more friends than any public schooler. We are NOT un-socialized and we are NOT getting out of doing school and we do NOT have prom in our basement.

  81. I’d like to point out that this isn’t the first time that Disney Channel have mocked gluten-free young people. I’m a Celiac so obviously I pick up on it more but in an episode of Hannah Montana the character Jackson expresses that he doesn’t want to go on a date with a nerdy girl because they’ll probably be doing geeky stuff like “roasting gluten-free marshmallows”. Really bad taste and it wouldn’t happen to children with diabetes or a peanut allergy because they’re taken seriously. Also I kind of take issue with how the kids are encouraged to bully a child who looks stereotypically “nerdy”. What kind of message are they trying to give children? Difference is to be mocked?

  82. This is garbage. I have two family members with celiac, a lactose-intolerant sister, and I used to allergic to banana when I was a kid and this is seriously not funny. Even when I was as young as four I was able to understand the importance of never putting a crumby knife back into the peanut butter and washing all the measuring cups that had been used to flour before using it for another ingredient so when my grandma came to visit she didnt have to worry about accidentally eating some gluten. In school, I had bananas shoved in my face twice and it was seriously traumatizing even though my allergy wasnt life threatening. All I got was a bit of a rash the second time it happened (the first time the banana wasnt peeled) but it was really scary and my teacher did nothing. My mom always taught me to be accommodating to people with allergies. There’s a girl on my parents’ street who plays with my brother and since my mom knew she often had to miss birthday parties because she’s allergic to pretty much everything, my mom always washed the entire kitchen and dining room and invited her mom to come along to supervise and bring her own special meals. My mom always puts together a special bag of candies she can eat for her on Halloween because most of her candy goes to her sister. THIS is the kind of behavior towards people with allergies they SHOULD be showing, not bullying and assault (as far as I’m concerned, yea, throwing pancakes at a celiac is assault.) I also have asthma and the way it is portrayed in the media is pretty much the same. It’s a condition for nerds that is not life threatening and funny to make fun of. Sometimes it’s even portrayed as something that’s all in their head and I even had a friend of mine inform me once that I could breathe without my inhaler if I just believed I could because she’s seen it in a movie once. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fictional character use an inhaler properly before. I think the only time I saw asthma shown as a serious condition rather than a joke was on Lost when Shannon, possibly the only non-“loser” with asthma ever, almost died without her inhaler.

  83. That was so mean of them! What if that boy had an allergic reaction, just from having gluten touch his skin?


  85. Glad I’m not the only one who hates that stupid-ass show of the Disney Channel. Those who claim that it’s great are liars.

  86. I knew this is sooooo old, but I feel the need to comment. This is heartbreaking. Disney Channel and Disney XD always have been the crappiest networks on earth. I hate every show they have made. All their shows are a disgrace to the world.
    I don’t have Celiac’s, but the last thing we need to teach kids is to make fun of disabilities. Why don’t we teach them acceptance, compassion, and love instead of hate and discrimination. What Disney is teaching these kids is to always judge a kid by their disability, race, class, etc. Heartbreaking. Shouldn’t we be teaching kids that it doesn’t matter if someone is different, because we’re all unique in our own way. The only thing that matters is if we are nice or mean. Not our health records.
    I have Asperger’s Syndrome. The way the awful Girl Meets World treated Asperger’s (another one of the Disney channel’s S%#! shows) is something I will not tolerate. I’m going to talk to Disney about. I won’t stop until they know what they have done.

  87. This actually surprised me since I have always been accommodated very well dietary wise whenever I visit Disney theme parks. They always prepare my food so that I am safe. Never have gotten sick. It is videos and shows like this though that stigmatize our disability.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

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.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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