Q: What do the following 3 items have in common?
A: They are a mere sample of the tons of emails I receive about kids with celiac disease getting bullied. And why do kids with celiac disease get bullied, besides the fact the country is full of self-absorbed a**holes? Because the media, and Hollywood especially, has given people license to do so. I have written about a bunch of episodes over the years. Most of them poke fun at being gluten-free. Rarely do they mention celiac disease. Until now.
There is a new teen flick out on Netflix called “Do Revenge”. A fellow celiac sent me an email and told me to watch the following scene:
Did you know there are 89 diseases with NO CURE and celiac disease is just one of them? So my questions to the director are these:
– With so many jokes you could have used in this scene, why use a disease? Any disease?
– Why did you specifically choose celiac disease??
I know the answer> Cause we’re a punchline folks. That’s all we are to Hollywood. We’re not people with a serious autoimmune disease whose only treatment is an ungodly strict diet. Our disease is a joke. And because of these “jokes”, kids around the world continue to be bullied. I’ve been writing this same shit for 10 year now and I’m officially out of words. So I’ll use the words of the person who contacted me about the film. This is what she sent to director and screenwriter Jennifer Kaytin Robinson:
Celiac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease which is categorized by the immune system attacking the lining of the small intestine, mainly hair-like projections called villi, when 1/64th of a teaspoon or more of gluten is consumed. Villi are essential for nutrient absorption and proper digestion. Personally, despite being diligent with my gluten free diet, I am still not at the level of health I once was. I have lost many friends who talked behind my back about how inconvenient my dietary restrictions are for them, how I might be faking or embellishing symptoms, or outright excluded from events for being a burden.
I have been through periods where I couldn’t imagining continuing to live while feeling as sick as I felt during the time I was diagnosed, and I truly had no support system outside of my family. The only ‘treatment’ for celiac is a life-long, strict gluten free diet, which is often the butt of jokes. Because “Do Revenge” is on Netflix and will be widely watched, I felt the need to reach out and communicate how disappointing, triggering and upsetting this line was for me and I’m sure for the celiac community as a whole. I strongly believed it should be removed for the well-being of the celiac community and for the risk of further misrepresentation of the disease which contributes to a lack of education among the healthy community and in turn, a lack of support. Thank you for your time.
This is perfect so I won’t try to improve on it. All I’d probably do is add some unnecessary flavorful language.
But I would love it if as many of you could contact Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and let her know how you feel and ask her to remove the scene. You can reach her via the following:
Thanks in advance.
PS. I love Maya Hawke so this is an extra bummer.