New teen Netflix movie makes a mockery of celiac disease (because of course)

Do Revenge and celiac disease

Q: What do the following 3 items have in common?

I’m the mother of an 8 year old son who was diagnosed with Celiac. He was very sick by the time they figured out it was Celiac. Hair loss, neuropathy in his hands and feet, weight loss, stunted growth headaches. The first week of school a student threw food at him. Over the course of the school year there have been 6 episodes of food being thrown and two episodes of taunting him about Celiac in the classroom.
Being a teenager with Celiac sucks and I feel like an outcast. My friends do not understand my disease; they are so narrow minded that they judge me for checking labels constantly, trying to find new gluten free foods everyday. They will pass remarks or tell jokes about it and then get angry when I let my emotions take over and go out on them.
For my kids, the bullying 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.

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:

Dear Jennifer, hoping this message finds you well, and while I do not expect a response, I really do hope this reaches you. I am reaching out as I watch ‘Do Revenge’ with my sister. My name is [retracted] and I have celiac disease. I was shocked and saddened by Alisha Boe’s line “I don’t believe that Montana is actually celiac and I’m not gonna choose some random restaurant for my birthday dinner because some other restaurant has a better gluten free menu. It makes no sense, she can be so selfish sometimes.” I have faced a lot of bullying and misunderstanding regarding my autoimmune disease since my diagnosis 3.5 years ago, and as a result, I have tried to do a small part to advocate for education, awareness and support around this underrepresented but very serious disorder.

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.

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2 thoughts on “New teen Netflix movie makes a mockery of celiac disease (because of course)”

  1. Someone just died of a cross contamination allergic reaction to milk. When will they wake up? Do they have to be sued before they stop? How did Hollywood stop using disabled people as a punchline? I remember the 80s when it was still “funny” to make fun of strange walks or using the word cr—–.

    It’s not the greatest ever, but in the UK there is bread that is safe to eat for a controlled amount of money, to prevent the poor from being totally cut off when they start out with Celiac diagnosis.

    Such a thing is only dreamed about in the US. Even such a small thing as this.

    As someone who has done a lot of “weight loss” diets (spoiler, they don’t work, don’t bother), gluten free is way harder than Paleo or Vegan. And avoiding processed starch while being gluten free is even harder. As much as I want to yell shut up at those who say gluten free is unhealthy and only the sick should do it… I can’t. I agree that the frankenstarch products are bad to eat.

    Why can’t we just get respectful good food? Why is that such an issue for everyone else? They don’t have to be careful. I / we do.

    As far as the idiotic scene in this show, it’s the kind of thing kids who bully would say. I’d like to see whether it turned out that the truly selfish one was exposed and apologized. But somehow I think it may not.

    A lot of kids shows have themes showing what not to do and then resolving it. Not having Netflix I can’t see whether that happened.

    1. I just realized she died in 2018. I really hate how the news doesn’t bother to give proper dates anymore. Anyway, even though she didn’t “just” die, that’s still an absurd reason to die and shouldn’t have happened at all.

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