So I was on Twitter last week when I came across a post by my friends at Celiac.com. (Note: They’re not my friends. And yes…I know Twitter is a cesspool, but it allows me to stay in touch with the celiac community.)
The post said “Canadian Insurance Firm Gets Cheeky with Gluten-Free Insurance Ads”. I’m a curious fella so I clicked on the link. Cheeky was not exactly my initial response.
The insurance exchange company, located in Canada, is called Apollo XE. They thought it would be a laugh riot to offer gluten-free insurance policies. Why? I have no fucking idea. And they actually did a press release for it. No…really. Here’s the press release in its entirety:
“There’s no gluten on the internet,” says Apollo CEO Jeff McCann. “By taking the insurance policy from its physical form, which is full of gluten, and translating it into a cloud-based digital form, Apollo is able to guarantee that there is no way gluten could possibly contaminate the policy.”
The insurance policy was tested in a third party lab, which confirmed that there was no gluten whatsoever contained in the final product.
Apollo is interested in partnering with Beyond Meat to offer a vegan insurance policy later on this year.
Now…if you’ve been following me for some time (virtual hugs to all of you), you know I used to rail against these types of things on a pretty regular basis. (Exhibit A: Party City.) My feeling was (and still is) that anything that undermines gluten-free and turns it into a joke is harmful to our community and encourages bullying of children who need to eat gluten-free.
But in the past year or so, I pretty much stopped reacting to these types of things. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps fatigue. Perhaps because I know it rarely makes a dent beyond the day I write about it. Perhaps I wanted to keep a more positive outlook. Or perhaps I didn’t want to give any attention to these companies anymore (and yes…sadly there have been plenty of opportunities.)
But for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like leaving this one alone. Not only was it completely pointless, it basically says gluten-free is a fad diet by lumping it in with Beyond Meat and a vegan diet. The reaction by Celiac.com also left a bad taste in my mouth. Here’s what Celiac.com wrote about the press release:
Ummm…no I don’t.
So…since Jeff McCann, the CEO of Apollo, left his email address, I thought I’d ping him. Here’s how the conversation went.
Me: Are you fucking kidding me Jeff? (with a link to the press release.)
Jeff: Haha I’m guessing you’re entertained.
Me: Guess again. I, and millions of others, have celiac disease. These types of idiotic jokes make our lives more difficult. You still think I’m entertained?
Jeff: Statistically speaking there is more positives about awareness through our campaign than there is about you sending irrationally angry emails to CEOs of insurance companies. What outcome would you like from this narrative? PS. Make sure you send some hate towards your counterparts at Celiac.com (with a link to the article on the Celiac.com website.)
Jeff again 23 minutes later:
I’m just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear’s a powerful thing
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It’ll take your God filled soul
And fill it with devils and dust
(Dude note: I’ll give the guy credit here. He must have researched me enough to know I’m a big Bruce fan. And I do love those lyrices from the under-appreciated Devils and Dust, though I’m not quite sure how they apply here.)
Me: Hey there Jeff. A few thoughts:
– One of my favorite Bruce lyrics.
– I am not fond of celiac.com; never have been.
– Perhaps my anger seemed irrational, and perhaps I could have toned it down, but the celiac community has been fighting this battle for years. The jokes at the expense of our ONLY treatment makes it more difficult to be taken seriously, which leads to more of us getting sick and kids getting bullied. Please read something I post years ago: https://glutendude.com/celiac-awareness/why-the-jimmy-kimmel-video-matters/
Happy to carry the conversation further.
And that was the end of the conversation. I guess he had no interest in carrying the conversation further.
So here’s my question to you, my fellow celiacs: Do you think I overreacted? And I really do want to get your feedback here. I want to make sure I am serving the celiac community in the most effective way possible.
Should I have:
1) Let it go.
2) Respond in a polite fashion.
3) Do exactly what I did.
I’m all ears. (Literally…I was born with just ears. Kind of a shitty life, but I can hear EVERYTHING.)