15.01.2012: Leprosy is no joke
After more than a week of mounting press speculation, Aardman has decided to change the controversial depiction of leprosy from their forthcoming film ‘Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists’.
The film-maker has told LEPRA Health in Action that they intend to make a change to the offending scene which depicted an arm dropping off a character on a ‘leper Ship’. They declined to elaborate on how the scene has been changed but that they believe it will be acceptable to leprosy affected people.
Aardman initially responded to a letter from LEPRA accepting the serious nature of the complaint and this was backed up by Gideon Defoe author of the series of ‘Pirates!’ books and screenwriter for the film. He communicated with the charity via the social network Twitter and gave an insight into Aardman’s thought process saying they were ‘looking at making a change’. The news later emerged that the film would be changed as a result of the outcry that had resulted from the trailer.
Chief executive Sarah Nancollas responded: “We are genuinely delighted that Aardman and Sony Pictures have made this decision, though obviously we will have to wait to see the final film to see how this has been dealt with.” She went on to say, “Sadly, this is only a small victory in a much bigger battle. Leprosy is a much misunderstood condition and Aardman can help us change that. We welcome the response. Hopefully the publicity will help to reduce the damage has already been done with the use of this trailer across the world. World Leprosy Day is commemorated at the end of January and LEPRA and our partners in the field will be working hard to overcome misleading stereotypes about the disease and ensure that people feel confident to come forward for treatment.”
Actor Stephen Fry, who helped LEPRA to raise awareness of the scene in the film with a tweet last week, responded on hearing the news by tweeting “Kudos to Aardman I do believe in laughing at most things but @LEPRA_HinA will remind you that leprosy is a desperate condition. Tx Aardman!”
Posted by admin 22:30 15.01.2012
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“As a retired microbiologist I am all too well aware of the ravages the leprosy bacillus causes”
Zermatt marathon runner for LEPRA Health in Action