Why the Celiac Hate Jessica Jones? Just…Why??

jessica jones mocks celiac disease

This is not a rant. Since the gluten-free bashing has been going on for years and years, I’ve sadly become pretty numb to it. So as you read this, picture me using my quiet voice; the one where I’m just out of words to explain why the media continues to have such a fixation on our disease; the one where I’m just sad that I need to write another article about this; the one where…dare I say…I just don’t give a shit anymore.

I don’t feel like giving a Dude Breakdown of the video. I’ll just let you watch the scene here:

And now I’ll just ask some questions, since I don’t have any answers.

Why would they choose celiac disease, out of all things in this world they could have chosen, to highlight how “unimportant” some things are in this world compared to the travesties going on around us?

Why would they portray the author as weak and annoying?

Why would they use “Gluten Freedom” as the title of the book when that is already a popular book by celiac expert Dr. Alessio Fasano? And is that even legal?

Why would the show actually take the time to learn about celiac disease (which is obvious they did) but then go ahead and just bash it to pieces?

Why would they conflict celiac disease with gluten-intolerance? (I’m not minimizing the latter here…just interested in getting the facts right.)

Why would they bring up celiac disease and then compare our diet to “hair volume” and “space saving packing tips”?

Why would they make it seem that NOBODY dies from celiac disease when celiacs have a higher-than-normal death rate from lymphoma?

Look…I know nothing about this show. And holy shit…of course celiac disease doesn’t compare to sexual assault and gun violence. But I’ve always hated the “it could be worse” argument even though it can be truthful. All it does is minimize what someone is going through.

So I am honestly just looking for answers. No bashing. No “woe is us” commentary. No petitions.


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44 thoughts on “Why the Celiac Hate Jessica Jones? Just…Why??”

  1. I have a daughter with Celiac Disease. I usually get just as infuriated as you when I see entertainment bash Celiac Disease in ridiculous ways. However, there is some context missing in the clip you posted above. The radio show host is addicted to a drug that increases her senses and strength and negatively alters her personality. I think this scene is less a bashing of Celiac and more a demonstration of how uncharacteristically nasty the radio show host has become because of the drug.

      1. They were portraying the radio host as unhinged and unreasonable, not the author. There is nothing in that scene approaching slamming celiac – even though the person with the headphones one was reacting as if the host was insane – that was the point of the scene.

    1. I agree. Was bit impressed they actually had some facts and felt it was more about the radio host. It didn’t feel like the usual condescension. It’s a pretty good show.

  2. Hey Dude!

    Congrats on your new business & hope all continues to go well for You, Mrs Dude, the Dudettes & the Pups.

    Why? Just more mindless drivel from the desolate wasteland into which TV “entertainment” entered long ago and continues its relentless slog through this broken, sad, deteriorating world…nothing more & nothing less.

    Since Gluten most certainly would have killed Mom and me by resulting cancers years ago, the “sick radio show host” is not only exhibiting the effects of her intelligence and personality sapping drugs but the show and its writers and producers continue ignorantly spewing even more nonsense into said desolate wasteland ad nauseam, which process will most likely only continue to worsen. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

    Thanks again for your selfless advocacy, as always.

    Until our paths cross again,


  3. I’m a Jessica Jones fan, have seen both seasons, and think this is lazy, exploitive writing. The character immediately gets the news anchor audition out of this tirade. Way to encourage allergy bullying (a big problem for kids with anaphylaxis in schools right now) with positive reinforcement.

  4. I wonder if they considered the author being one who proposes going no or low sugar and then have the host say diabetes doesn’t matter. I would consider that to be the equivalent especially because many people can’t absorb certain forms of sugar correctly but don’t have diabetes (fructose malabsorption for instance).

    I’m sure many people don’t realize that we’re fortunate that modern day not as many children end up near death from celiac. (Though the mortality rate is still higher than those without celiac: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17324126) Before gluten was identified as the culprit in celiac, children with celiac were terribly malnourished and some died. They were called banana babies because that’s what they were fed to try to regain their health. (I hope one of these is one of Gluten Free Watchdog’s free articles.) https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/this-is-how-children-with-celiac-disease-presented-prior-to-the-discovery-of-gluten-as-the-culprit/

  5. Thanks for that heads up before I start binging this. I’ll have my Enjoy Life chocolates on hand in case I want to emotionally eat after this scene.

    My lymph nodes are clogging along with some of my other glands, and I’m in an MRI gauntlet. My autoimmunity/gluten issue isn’t genetically Celiac – but, there are so many long-term health effects. Is anyone tracking depression, suicides, the impact of nutritional deficiencies on bones, teeth, and cancers? Are we still trendy enough to get research funding?

    1. A nurse once told me, “There is no money in diarrhea” . If they get a pill for it, there most certainly will be money and THAT is when it will be taken seriously.

  6. I invite anyone who think celiac is not a life altering disease should come spend a week in my house. You can watch as my daughter cries in pain After eating or takes hours on the toilet. Or how we can never go out to dinner or a friends house to eat. Look at the rash on her skin, the neurological ticks she now has from malno. Or the brain fog is so bad she can’t follow a simple commend, or the fact that she missed two years of school. She spent weeks in the hospital only to come home in a wheelchair, any person who thinks celiac is a diet choice please come visit my daughter. This is infuriating!

  7. I usually am an activist about such things too, but im also a jessica jones fan. I think context is missing here too you need to understand. The interviewer is on a paranoid drug basically but also really does have people trying to do her harm which i think was mentioned, but the big thing missing is that she wants to do serious investigative news and no lifestyle news. The character has had it with lifestyle including medical anythings. In actuality celiac was likely used not to bash it, but because its a popular and big topic in the lifestyle realm because of celiacs and people raising awareness. Its why that subject matter was used. As for the interviewer shes just plain unravelling. She isnt in any way at the time to be considered, serious, logical or unrealistic. Honestly, while i am a huge fan of the Dude i have to disagree here. If you knew the context…the point being illuustrated is exactly the opposite of what you think. Its the illogica, unravelling interviewer interviewing about a serious lifestyle subject. Its the illogical one bashing the disease. Thats saying the complete opposite to me in this case.

    1. Appreciate the comment, but again, who cares about the context. Celiac is already SO misunderstood and the media has made it so much worse. Why use celiac here?

      1. Why can no one else get it right Dude so beyond irritating 😠 what will it take for the world to understand our disease ???

        1. I find it infuriating. Even peeps with CD are often unconcerned. My old neighbor has CD and blood cancer, she eat anything she wants. She says, “Oh ya, I have CD, but I don’t any symptoms”.

          My family looks at CD just like this lady in the show. Personally, I have never heard her before, but it angers me. Why not go after her like Party City?

    2. From the clip, it looks like the viewer is supposed to sympathize with the author of the “Gluten Freedom” book and not the interviewer. The interviewer definitely needed to go out and take a chill pill, and the author seemed understandably rattled. I’m not seeing how this is supposed to paint celiac disease and gluten issues in a negative light unless I’m missing something (as I very well could be since I don’t watch Jessica Jones). In fact, I think it seemed to paint those who don’t take celiac and gluten issues seriously in a bad light. This is just my two cents and what it looks like to me, though.

  8. Why? To show how insensitive TV can be to real life situations so everyone will quit believing TV is a real representation of actual life? I wish.

  9. My father died because of cardiomyopathy , he had celiac disease( and I inherited CD from him and mother, too). Yes, people can die of celiac, like the little kids that never were diagnosed when their little small intestines could not absorb anymore(this is in medical literature). I am so sick and tired of listening to many ignorant people that all I want is to educate them. I wish Jessica some day does not find out her future daughter, husband or family member has celiac disease because she will know how we feel. On the other side we can stop her, complaining, we can. If she becomes too abusive it is time to stop her.

  10. Have never left a comment here before, but just have to say…Jessica Jones is NOT REAL- celiac is…I have no idea how anyone can defend “her”….it’s a fictional TV show. What would happen if the writers used another illness and not celiac disease? Watch the clip again and substitute peanut allergy or obesity or heart disease…why doesn’t it seem “okay” to make fun of those illnesses? (Which of course I take all of them seriously but am comparing why some feel it’s “okay” to joke about celiac and not other conditions.)

    1. EXACTLY!!!
      “. . . substitute peanut allergy or obesity or heart disease…why doesn’t it seem “okay” to make fun of those illnesses? “

  11. I see both sides of this one. I totally totally cringed while watching that scene. The host character is usually a great, empathetic interviewer. She’s a total asshole here, and that goes along with the story line. I agree with the above comments that say that. BUT it totally sucks that they chose celiac here. It is so commonly misunderstood, and the woman she’s interviewing is terrible. I’d like to know what the writers were thinking, but honestly I’m guessing they chose celiac because so many assholes think it’s “easy to make fun of”. I haven’t got around to contacting Marvel, I’m a huge fan, but I will be…. I appreciate the post a lot, but I don’t think this is the Party City ad either. But it isn’t good for sure – in fact, it’s very bad.

    1. I agree, but I think it’s pretty harmful because the author isn’t portrayed as credible (“silent irritant”? My celiac is anything but silent!) and the Trish character gets the audition she’s been wanting out of this. Granted, she bombs the audition, but the reason she gets it is because she was a supreme jerk on air about celiac disease. That bothers me.

  12. One of the writers is obviously in denial about a family members diagnosis of Celiac Disease and is THAT idiot relative venting opinion on the job

  13. I am 35, have known I have celiac disease for the past 13 years, and have already had 3 scares for cancer: 2 for lymphoma and 1 for colon cancer. All of it is linked to celiac disease. I go back this year for my 5 year follow-up since my last clear colonoscopy. For those doing the math, I was only 28 when I had my colon cancer scare and they removed several polyps, some so big they nearly blocking my colon and others they thought were cancer but (thank god) were benign. I was 24 when they thought I had lymphoma the first time. Food and nutrition do in fact matter when we are talking about people who cannot eat the food around them without risking cancer, malnutrition and death. While no one is disputing that this is fiction, it is through fiction and other forms of art that culture is greatly influenced and the more people keep accepting and not blinking when our disease is discredited in the media or in movies or in television, the more it builds in the minds of viewers that celiac disease is not real or worth caring about. This one uses false moral equivalence to try and discredit our disease by arguing that because war and rape and violence exist in the world and people are dying, celiac disease doesn’t matter because people don’t die directly from celiac disease or “gluten.” UGH. FFS. It’s not only an unfair comparison, it has no logical footing. The severity of A (gun violence etc.) has zero bearing on the severity of B (celiac disease). Just because A exists as well as B, does not mean that B is less of an issue and there is no evidence that A is of greater moral value than B. They are not equivalent in any way shape or form. Thanks for letting me know not to bother with this show that looked pretty shitty anyway. Maybe time to stop putting my money into the Marvel universe too if this is what they promote.

  14. I was so excited when Jessica Jones was originally announced in 2015. I really liked Krysten Ritter in “Breaking Bad” and “Don’t Trust the B* in 23”, and obviously I don’t need to explain why David Tennant is amazing. But I had to stop watching halfway thru. It’s mean-spirited and needlessly cruel. I mean yes…cruelty can make for entertaining thriller action. But I mean, REALLY UNNECESSARY and gratuitous cruelty. It made me sick to my stomach. So it makes perfect sense that this show did this. Just a bunch of angry/idiot writers.

  15. I just called Netflix on their customer service number 1 (866) 579-7172 and gave them my thoughts. I also said that I wanted them to make a public apology and donate money to the Gluten Dude and or to celiac research, or I was canceling my Netflix. I have seen posting of letters written to Netflix about the JJ’s rant; I hope a head or two will turn.

  16. I believe the radio show host was supposed to be going through withdrawls and not making the best decisions. Exageratedly being heartless and cruel.

  17. I just happened to be Google searching celiac disease and happened to come across this blog because I think I may suffer from it, and I also remember binge watching Jessica Jones a few months back and I remembered this scene. Dude, you hit the nail right on the head with your analysis. Especially what you said about trivializing what others go through when people use the straw man argument of “it could be worse.” The bottom line is, its a serious illness and to somehow use it as a form of character development is indeed offensive to people that have to deal with this in their daily lives. For the record I am very well versed in all of the shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so I am well aware that Jessica Jones is not real, and I also know that Trish, the interviewer, was indeed drugged out, but that still misses the point. There is indeed a lot of ignorance about celiac disease and things like this does not help. If someone made a scene about this regarding diabetes there would be such an uproar that the show would have to issue an apology or retraction.
    The way I see it, every person has their own burden to bear and their burden may seem light to others, but it is stillb their burden nonetheless so no one should judge. There is definately misinformation about this and society needs to do better.

  18. I actually would love to know how many authors of the show had the advantage of experiencing gun and sexual violence and war, believing they can even begin to comprehend the severity of that and compare it to other things that in their mind don’t matter.

  19. Hi, I just stumbled on this blog and read this post. I have to admit that I hadn’t seen this far into Jessica Jones so I didn’t know about this. This hurts. Its hard enough explaining to people who are willing to listen without our media making it harder. Here is an explanation posted that I like even if its a bit of a depressing outcome.


  20. As a Celiac, I found it in poor taste and insulting. It’s hard enough to have to cope with the disease and then show writers go and make characters say stuff like that.

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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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