Statement on Netflix's Film 'The After Party' from Philip Gattone, President and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation
LANDOVER, Md., Aug. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of our community have expressed concerns about the inappropriate and negative portrayal of people with epilepsy and seizures in the new Netflix film, "The After Party." The main character is nicknamed "Seizure Boy" and everyone makes fun of him because he has a seizure. The film inaccurately portrays seizures and people who experience seizures. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and people with epilepsy may experience hundreds of seizures a day.
Making fun of someone having a seizure is bullying at its worst. When such responses are portrayed as acceptable behavior – even in movies – it is demeaning and hurtful to our epilepsy community and all of us. In fact, such treatment can put real people who have seizures at increased risk of injury and death. If someone is ridiculed for a medical problem, such as seizures, they are more likely to hide their illness and less likely to seek medical care or the help of others.
While we welcome opportunities to portray real stories of people with epilepsy in movies and in the media, it is a serious affront to our community when so-called entertainment mocks or jokes about having epilepsy or seizures.
For decades, and in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 17 years, the Epilepsy Foundation has developed and activated nationwide programs to promote public education about epilepsy, seizure recognition and how to administer Seizure First Aid.
Unfortunately, the film does not educate people about seizures or provide information on what to do if someone sees a person having a seizure. The way seizures are portrayed in the film only adds to the ignorance, misunderstanding and fear that exist about seizures. This Netflix film harkens back into the Dark Ages.
We have reached out to Netflix and hope to work with them to ensure that seizures are accurately depicted in future projects and that Netflix includes an education component about seizure recognition and Seizure First Aid.
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. Epilepsy affects 3.4 million people in the United States today. It is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
With a network of 50 local partners throughout the United States, the Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding $65 million for epilepsy research. Over the past 16 years, the Epilepsy Foundation has trained more than 500,000 school and community personnel about seizure recognition and first aid, assisted more than 108,000 people through its 24/7 Helpline, helped support 3,076 investigators in their early careers, including the training of 26 neurology/epilepsy specialists, and made innovation and new therapies a key priority along with community services and education. To learn more and get involved, please visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.