Sunday, August 14, 2005

Media Alert: Charlie & The Chocolate Factore

Dear DSALA Family and Friends,
The letter below is a template that you may use to let the WB know that you are unhappy with the use of the word "retard" in the new feature film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Please send you letter and copy it to the two gentlemen listed on the bottom of the letter at the same WB address. It is possible to get them to take out the line before it goes to home video and DVD if we they receive enough complaints. Thank you for your support and please share this with your family and friends.
Gail WilliamsonExecutive DirectorDown Syndrome Association of Los Angeles818-242-7871

Mr. Rick Mater, Sr. V.P. Standards and Practices
Warner Bros.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001

Re: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Dear Mr. Mater;
I am contacting you because of my concern over a line in the Warner Brothers’ feature film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” When the audience is introduced to the character Mike Teavee he makes the statement, “A retard could figure it out.”
About 10 million people in the United States are reported to have a medical diagnosis that includes mental retardation. The slang “retard” is offensive and hurtful to these individuals, their families and friends. I suspect that a statement of this kind directed at a specific ethnic or cultural minority would have never made it into the film. This leads me to believe that Warner Bros.’ department of standards and practices has a different set of guidelines for the human rights of people with disabilities then it does for other marginalized groups.
I would ask two things.
First, please take this statement out of the film before it is released on DVD and video for home use. The thought of millions of children having this example to watch over and over again is overwhelming. A child will not discern that Mike is bad and is ultimately punished for his behaviors. They will more likely use the language he uses in a hurtful way.
Second, please see that your standards and practices department has the necessary training to recognize discrimination and degradation of the 54 million individuals with disabilities in the U.S and the more then 600 million world wide.
(Close it with a paragraph here.)

Cc: Mr. Barry Meyers, Chairman/CEO
Mr. Alan Horn, President/COO


Tara Marie said...

Naomi,,,I hope you don't mind, but I posted this alert on my blog and Trisomy 21 Online. I had the priviledge of meeting Gail Williamson at the NDSC convention in Minneapolis, MN in 2004.

Peace, TM

Belovedlife said...

Thank you for brining this to our attention. It is comments like these, that harm our kids in the long run. As many typical kids, and their parents are oblivious to such comments.

Since we had Peanut, we have eliminated many temrs that may be derogatory if improperly used, including the word retarded. We no longer use it and are training our friends the same.,

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