a word from David Tolleson of the National Down Syndrome Congress
I am taking the unusual step of contacting you over the weekend, because we have a lot of work to do and a short time in which to do it. On Friday, our Resource Specialist, Sue Joe, and I attended a special screening of DreamWorks new film, "Tropic Thunder". Journalist Pat Bauer also attended the screening and reports on the contents of the film on her blog, www.patriciaebauer.com. So far, we are the only members of the nationwide disability community who have seen the film, though more screenings are planned for Monday for leaders in other cities.
To say this film is offensive is an understatement. For me, watching this film felt like sitting through an assault.
The National Down Syndrome Congress is a founding member of a coalition of disability-rights organizations who have been in discussion together -- and with DreamWorks -- about this film. Now that we have seen this movie, there is no doubt but that we must come together to fight what has been characterized as damaging and hurtful hate speech.
Members of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, led by Gail Williamson, will be among the local and national representatives providing informational leafleting and picketing at the Hollywood premiere of this film on Monday. However, we need your help.
If you are in Southern California and can get to Los Angeles on Monday, please contact Gail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you cannot make it on Monday, please start planning for Wednesday's nationwide premiere by polling your members for those who might be able to show up at one or more theatres in your area that day to share our message that movies like "Tropic Thunder" do cause harm, both emotionally and by giving insensitive individuals new ways to taunt children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It would be best to have a large turnout at one theatre than to have one or two people at many, and it is important to involve self advocates.
Lest you think the movie is so ridiculous that no one will take it seriously, Josh Tyler, Editor-in-Chief of CinemaBlend, has already given the film a glowing review, noting that his "current favorite" quote, "You never go full retard," comes from the film.
On Monday morning, we will provide information gathered from various coalition members, to use in your efforts.
In Solidarity, David Tolleson
National Down Syndrome Congress
Liz Ditz has a comprehenisive list of posts on this offensive film.
Jess at Raising Joey has the New York Times article on the upcoming protests.