Miss­ing the mark

Tillsonburg News - - NEWS -

toronto — the Cana­dian epilepsy al­liance is tak­ing is­sue with the re­cently re­leased net­flix film the after party over its por­trayal of peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence seizures.

the film’s main char­ac­ter owen (played by the rap­per Kyle, real name Kyle Har­vey) is an as­pir­ing rap­per who goes vi­ral on so­cial me­dia after he has a seizure dur­ing a per­for­mance. He’s nick­named “seizure boy” and the other char­ac­ters make fun of him.

“the por­trayal of seizures in this film is in­ac­cu­rate and por­trays those liv­ing with seizures in a neg­a­tive way,” said deirdre Floyd, pres­i­dent of the ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion for peo­ple with the neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der.

any de­pic­tion in a film that mocks a seizure dis­or­der or makes all seizures look the same sets back the work of the al­liance to pro­vide cor­rect in­for­ma­tion about epilepsy, she said.

the group’s mis­sion is to ed­u­cate the pub­lic about the var­i­ous types of seizures and the ap­pro­pri­ate first aid for each of them, said Floyd, who has sent a let­ter to Cal­i­for­nia-based net­flix, say­ing the por­trayal of epilepsy in the film causes dam­age to those with seizures who “try to lead as nor­mal a life as pos­si­ble ev­ery day.”

“in­di­vid­u­als that have epilepsy of­ten suf­fer from low self-es­teem be­cause they have been mocked in school, (the) work­place, as well as in so­cial set­tings,” she writes to net­flix Ceo reed Hast­ings. “Quite of­ten, the at­ti­tude of oth­ers around them causes more harm than the ac­tual seizure.”

the big­gest con­cern is that the film sends the mes­sage that “it’s oK to po­ten­tially bully peo­ple or make fun of them, not tak­ing into ac­count that it’s a med­i­cal con­di­tion,” she said thurs­day from Hal­i­fax.

net­flix rep­re­sen­ta­tives could not be im­me­di­ately reached for com­ment.

Floyd sug­gested net­flix should put a warn­ing at the be­gin­ning of the film’s trailer that some view­ers may find the con­tent of­fen­sive, or make a con­tri­bu­tion to her or­ga­ni­za­tion to help it spread the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion about epilepsy, which af­fects an es­ti­mated 260,000 Cana­di­ans and 50 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide.

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