Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Sony Pictures Animation

To whom it may concern:

Sadly it was brought to my attention that your film Hotel Transylvania 2 has partaken in some very disturbing disease shaming. My 6 year old son was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 3. Since his diagnosis we have encountered many companies that continue to fuel the stigma that Diabetes is caused by the consumption of sugar. Let me reassure you that no form of diabetes is solely caused by sugar or sugary foods. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body single handedly destroys the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas leaving the body unable to produce insulin. This means that my son has to have insulin therapy for the rest of his life to stay alive. There was no way to prevent, predict or cure my son from Type 1 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes can be caused by lifestyle, genetics and age again, not caused solely by consuming any amount of sugar. I find it astonishing that a company of your caliber would deem it even remotely  appropriate to make any disease a joke, not to mention in a children’s movie. You certainly don’t see people making fun of cancer and it can be self inflicted by lifestyle choices and eating habits, so why is it socially acceptable to make fun of diabetes? 
My two son’s ages 3 and 6 had never seen the movie Hotel Transylvania until this weekend and of course they loved it. Now my 6 year old son is begging to go and see Hotel Transylvania 2. How do you propose that I explain why he cannot go and see your movie? How do I explain to a 6 year old that a movie is making fun of his life threatening very serious disease, but it's just a "joke"? How do I explain that this movie is helping to perpetuate the stigma that my son caused his own disease by consuming too much sugar? 
I feel that you owe the entire 29.1 million U.S. diabetics a HUGE public apology for your ignorance and insensitivity to their disease. A disease that is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, which should be no laughing matter! A disease that leaves my son fighting for his life every minute of every single day for the rest of his life, which should be no laughing matter! I urge you to educate yourselves and your company about all forms of diabetes and their true causes. 
Lastly, I find it very appropriate that you make a substantial donation to an organization fighting to cure Diabetes in the name all of those children who cannot go and see your movie and those that have been hurt by your movie because of your poor judgment and lack of education. The damage that you've caused reaches so far beyond the diabetics sitting in those theater chairs, you've now given an entire audiance morally corrupt ammunition and the ok to make fun of a deadly disease. An audiance full of children who are so innocent, yet soak up every ounce of the things they're exposed to in life. The fact that it was in a movie made for children is what upsets me the most, not only for my son's feelings but also for those children who don't know anything about diabetes. This movie is teaching them that it's ok to laugh at diabetes. These children could go on to potentially bully our diabetic children. What will they think when they see our children eating cake or sweets? These children could also think they'll get diabetes from eating cake or sweets. Absolutely nothing good can come from putting this content into children's films. Children learn what we teach them and no child should ever learn that it's acceptable to make fun of anyone with a disease or disability!

You can make your donation here: http://jdrf.org/ 

Here is a face of a child living with diabetes (see attachment). This was taken two weeks ago at our annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk. On that day Joseph had been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 996 days and had endured over: 201 Insulin Pump Infusions, 92 Continuous Glucose Monitor Sites, 9960 Blood Sugar checks, 1540 Insulin Injections and that is NO laughing matter!
I hope that you will recognize the severity of this issue and take the necessary steps to make it right. 
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Alicia Pescetti-mother of Joseph a Type 1 Diabetic

52 comments:

  1. Wow! I was planning on taking Ali this weekend to watch that movie. I was unaware of Sony Pictures taking that ignorant stance . People, companies , assciations etc should educate themselves before making any opinion or comment regarding anything they do not know first hand or have the facts about it ! Good for you raising your voice for our kids!

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    1. Thank you for support and my heart is broken for our children that cannot go and see this film and even more saddened for those that had to sit in the theater and endure the embarrassment of a crowd laughing at their disease :(

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  2. I couldn't agree more, there's not fun at all making jokes about anybody's especial condition.

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  3. Why do people get so easly offend about everything? Nowadays people can't say anything without upsetting someone!

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    1. Easily offended? Would you say the same if it were jokes about cancer or autism? I fight for my son's life 24/7 so I have every right to be offended when a movie makes fun of his disease!

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    2. Michelle Bardonner, You obviously must not have a child with T1DM, so I can see why it would be so very hard for you to comprehend. That joke did not belong in a children's movie.

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    3. Michelle, its not ok to make jokes about diabetes. I watch my son struggle EVER SINGLE DAY of his life. Every morning (after getting up a couple times during the night to check his levels) I go to his room to wake him for school and in the back of my head is always, is he going to be ok, is he going to wake up. He doesn't have a pump or glucose monitor yet so he has about 6 shots of insulin EVERY SINGLE DAY to stay ALIVE.

      We were at a parade once and a boy probably between 11-14 yrs old was handing out candy saying "only take this if you want Diabetes." I was like what??? My son just looked at me :(
      I told the boy my son has type 1 diabetes and candy didn't cause it. Its an autoimmune disease where his body was attacking itself and my son can't produce insulin anymore.

      We need more awareness about type 1 diabetes. Thank you Alicia. The letter was perfect!!

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    4. You should really be ashamed of yourself Michelle. I bet you were one of those bullies in school. My son lives with this GENETIC disease everyday of his life since he was 10 (and yes we know it is GENETIC he was tested). Why don't you try once being the mother of a type 1 diabetic that doesn't sleep at night, because she is to worried that his sugar us going to drop & he is going to have a seizure or slip in a coma. Yes, I have seen this 1st hand since I have 20 yrs as an RN in the ER. It's not a very funny situation. I can only pray that you are not raising your children, or influencing other kids to think it is ok to make fun of any child (medical condition or not).

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    5. You should really be ashamed of yourself Michelle. I bet you were one of those bullies in school. My son lives with this GENETIC disease everyday of his life since he was 10 (and yes we know it is GENETIC he was tested). Why don't you try once being the mother of a type 1 diabetic that doesn't sleep at night, because she is to worried that his sugar us going to drop & he is going to have a seizure or slip in a coma. Yes, I have seen this 1st hand since I have 20 yrs as an RN in the ER. It's not a very funny situation. I can only pray that you are not raising your children, or influencing other kids to think it is ok to make fun of any child (medical condition or not).

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  4. I've been T1D for 28 years now; I was diagnosed when I was 7. And I would be lying if I said I've never used my diabetes as a punchline before..let's be serious, sometimes you need a little levity and there's a lot about this disease that makes for an easy target in a joke (sugar...which we diabetics know, it's way more complicated than that). All that beign said, I have to imagine myself back at 7, seeing a movie that made of my very personal disease...I may have laughed it off on the outside, but I would've been crushed inside. I think it was totally just and appropriate to write this letter, Alicia. And you and your little guy hang in there! I can tell you, coming from someone who has seen how much T1D treatment has changed over the years, you son has more tools, resources and education to help him live a great life than I could've imagined when I was his age. But the general public still has a long way to go.

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    1. ^ That was my comment. Not sure why it posted anonymously, but I'm certainly fine putting my name/face with my words.

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    2. when the wrong information about a disease is a joke in a kids movie that leads to trouble. now, i'm sure, kids that see this movie will be making fun of other kids that are overweight or know that someone has diabetes. nice job, hollywood. thanx alicia for writing that letter. x

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  5. Thank you Tony! I agree that if you're of an age and you come across a "joke" and you're fine with it, then that's great but I want my son to know that while he has no voice I will stand for him. I will teach him that when he's offended it's ok to let your voice be heard. "Jokes" of this kind are not tolerated for impressionable children who will take it literally. This could cause children in my son's school to ask him if cake caused his diabetes, or worse put the fear in them that if they eat cake they too will get diabetes! It's heartbreaking!

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  6. What was said in the movie about diabetics? My five year old daughter was diagnosed T1D a month ago and I was going to take her to see the movie this weekend but now I'm rethinking that. I don't want her to feel bad about herself from a movie, her life is hard enough right now.

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    1. In the movie after eating cake the character says "the scariest monster of all is diabetes"

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    2. That is it? No harm no foul… it IS a scary monster that we should laugh at… it helps many cope and defeat it…

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    5. Wow sorry folks that posted 3 times… wth?

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    6. That is it?!?! No harm no foul… it IS a scary monster that we should laugh at… it helps many cope and defeat it…

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    7. Maybe to you, but it's not to our children!!

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    8. It wasn't the monster part that was the problem for me, the offensive part to me was the misinformation spread that people get it from too much sugar. I'm really tired of that joke.

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  7. Alicia, at first I was thinking that this open letter was a little too much and people take things too serious. Then I kept reading and really thought about the effects it would have on young children. I'm 28 and was diagnosed when I was 10. I was terrified when I was 10 and thought I was diagnosed because I ate a whole thing of Oreos in 1 day. Obviously false. I have been a Mentor for JDRF for a couple years now and it's very rewarding but more for the conversations I have with the parents,not so much the children. The children are nervous to ask questions but I'm all fair game for the parents. They are still getting educated and a lot of times feel it's their fault their child has T1D. Educating the parents who can in return educate their children is very rewarding. I wish there was more education in the community like there is for cancer and autism, etc... I admire you for writing this and I hope some good comes from it. As an adult, I can take jokes and every now and again I am dishing them out but never around children who don't know any better.

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    1. The fact that it was in a movie made for children is what upset me the most not only for my son's feelings but also for those children who don't know anything about diabetes. This movie is teaching them that it's ok to laugh at diabetes. They could potentially bully our children when they eat cake, they could think they'll get diabetes from eating cake, absolutely nothing good can come from putting this content into children's films. Adults know right from wrong (for the most part) but children learn what we teach them and no child should ever feel it's acceptable to make fun of anyone with a disease or disability! Thank you for your support!

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  8. Alicia, I agree with you on this topic. My son was diagnosed 6 years ago when he was 9 years old on November 1st at 2am. The public does not understand the severity of this disease. All I ever hear is that he has diabetes because I let him eat too much candy on Halloween. Well my son was sick and didn't even want to go trick or treating that night. Type 1 Diabetes is never a laughing matter and is always on our minds.

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    1. We just have to keep fighting for them and if we can change just one person's mind then we have won!

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  9. Thank You!!! My DD was absolutely crushed when we heard the reference to Diabetes in the movie. We truly appreciate that you've taken the time to write such an eloquent letter to educate them on the error of their ways. Especially love the call to donate to the cause. ;-) Hopefully they will have open ears and an open heart...

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, it truly breaks my heart! Thank you so much for your support and I am hopeful that Sony Pictures will do the right thing!

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  10. Perfect! Why are parents of children with type 1 diabetes offended by diabetes jokes? It is because diabetes jokes involve a CHILDREN that have a potentially deadly disease and we are exhausted from keeping them alive each and every day! Children can not always comprehend the sarcasm or the false information behind the joke. Adults can sort and filter the sarcasm in a joke and move on but we HAVE to be a voice for children with type 1 diabetes because our children did not ask for this disease. If people always truly believe that type 1 diabetes (even type 2 diabetes) is caused by eating sugar then who will want to donate to research to cure type 1 diabetes? People need to be educated - tired of the ignorance in the general population and even in nurses/some medical professionals.

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    1. We just have to keep fighting and myth busting and hopefully one day we will win the war against ignorance and misinformation that surrounds diabetes as a whole!

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  11. The key is making other aware. I don't believe that most people understand diabetes. The reason more people understand the various cancers is because they (the support groups) do a better job of bringing awareness. I'm 50 and have been dealing with type 2 for about 15 years. It wasn't until a few years ago I made some major changes in my life and began running marathons. First it was just one to fulfill a bucket list. This year I'm shooting for 14 marathons for the purpose of sharing information with others about the ill effects of diabetes. Share the information. Make people aware. Run Eugene Run.

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    1. Thank you for your support and way to go on your marathon achievements that is nothing short of amazing!!

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  12. I'm not sure what the offense is. Diabetes IS a very scary monster. It doesn't sound like they were making fun. Oh, and for the record, I'm a diabetic and so is my husband. The "scary monster" destroyed his kidneys and he has a transplant in July. Diabetes really sucks.

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  13. I'm not sure what the offense is. Diabetes IS a very scary monster. It doesn't sound like they were making fun. Oh, and for the record, I'm a diabetic and so is my husband. The "scary monster" destroyed his kidneys and he has a transplant in July. Diabetes really sucks.

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    1. It's never appropriate to teach children to make jokes about diseases and disabilities and making a joke about diabetes being the scariest monster of all after a character eats cake is not distinguishing the severity of the disease. The crowds in the theaters don't gasp, they laugh.......

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  14. Good for you for taking a stand. My husband is a Type 1 since 8 years old. I get a bit crazy when I hear people blaming sugar for diabetes of any kind and it is certainly not the case for T1. .

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    1. Thank you! Yes, the mama bear tends to come out when we feel we need to protect our loved ones, but this for me is about all diabetics and more importantly the fact that this subject never belongs in a children's film! Our society has become aware of so many touchy topics and takes caution to avoid them but why is diabetes exempt from that category? Hopefully one day we will win this war and everyone will know the truths about diabetes, we just have to keep fighting!

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  15. I unknowingly took my 11 year old son (who has been type one for 7 years) to this movie today! During the movie, my son Brady looked at me with a confused face and said "mom why did they say that?" I told him to just ignore what they said, even though it made me very angry! Had I know about this previously, I would not have taken my family to see this movie! The people that made this movie should be ashamed!

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    1. That is just awful and heartbreaking. Sony has no idea the impact that this will have on children with and without diabetes. I hope soon they will see the severity and do everything in their power to make it right!

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  16. Hi! My 13 year old wrote a 4 page letter to Sony and you can read it at her hashtag: #diseasesarentfunny <3 It's a great perspective from a t1 kid.

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  17. Maybe you have to read her letter here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153735740137835&set=pcb.10153735742262835&type=3&permPage=1 :) THANKS!

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    1. Thank you so much, I will take a look at it today! You must be so proud!

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  18. Alicia, thank you for writing your open letter. In advance of American Diabetes Month in November, our team at a kids' educational fitness company has spent a great deal of time thinking about the right way to explain what diabetes is to kids, as well as how to encourage kids who don't have diabetes to be compassionate to their classmates and friends who do. Our online videos are shown to elementary-grade classrooms throughout the U.S., so we are highly cognizant of the weighty responsibility we have to address tough topics like diabetes in the right way. I would guess that if the folks at Sony Entertainment were to read your letter, they'd definitely rethink including the joke in the movie. I know that I personally am very glad to have read your open letter and take it to heart before we finalize our scripts for November.

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    1. Thank You so much for your kind words it truly means the world to me! I love to hear that you guys are helping to bring such positive awareness during November! If there is anything that I can do to assist you please let me know, I am always happy to help. Thank you again for your support!

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    2. Thank YOU, Alicia! Would love to hear from you and run an idea or two by you at judy.kuan@adventuretofitness.com whenever you have a moment! All the best :)

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  19. Alicia, thank you for posting this, and alerting people of the facts of T1D. I lost my only child, my 32 year old beautiful daughter, this past March to T1D. She was only diagnosed in Sept 2014, it came from nowhere. She was always healthy and active, absolutely NOTHING SHE DID OR DID NOT DO CAUSED THIS! Michelle Bardonner, you are shameful in your ignorance and callousness of other's feelings and situations. I pray you are NOT a mother yourself, the pain of losing a child is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, and, the pain of reading others hateful remarks like yours while grieving, is the second worst pain. How would your own mother feel if she lost you, and had to read something like what you just wrote? You owe everyone here an apology, and, you owe it to yourself, to research things you know nothing about, before spouting off.

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    1. I am so unbelievably heartbroken over the loss of your daughter, you are living my worst nightmare since becoming a parent of a T1D! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you for having the courage to share your story and to help show the side of diabetes that no one likes to talk about publicly. Diabetes doesn't discriminate and those who speak ill will one day be impacted, statistics don't lie and then they will see how seriously they should have taken our concerns!

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  20. My 1st child was diagnosed at age 2. My 2nd child at age 5. Both live with this life and death autoimmune disease called Type 1 diabetes 24/7. My little one nearly died in the night at 3am a few months ago from Insulin Shock and pump malfunction. My now 7 year old, who is normally always cheery, came home in tears over this movie after the diabetes comments were made and audience members laughed. I'm completely baffled by Sony's decision to poke fun at a life and death childhood disease. I do wonder if they plan on poking fun at cancer next?

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    1. Oh man... that's so messed up. Im sorry it upset him. I definitely will avoid taking my T1D son to this movie.

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  21. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1645273825738573&id=1589110811354875&ref=bookmarks

    Love from Sweden!!! <3

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