Posted in: Movies

Leper Pirates Scene Removed From ‘The Pirates!’ After Complaints [Video]


Aardman Animation has decided to change a scene in its new movie “The Pirates!” after its trailers was criticized for its depiction of lepers. The leper pirate scene will be removed from the movie and the animation studio has issued an apology.

A statement from the company reads:

“After reviewing the matter, we decided to change the scene out of respect and sensitivity for those who suffer from leprosy. The last thing anyone intended was to offend anyone and it is clear to us that the right way to proceed is to honor the efforts made by organizations like ILEP to educate the public about this disease.”

The original trailer showed one of the main characters board a pirate ship full of lepers in search of gold. One of the leper pirates says, “afraid we don’t have any gold old man, this is a leper boat. See,” shortly before his arm falls off.

Here’s the original trailer. (The leper pirates scene occurs at the 25 second mark.)

Several leprosy groups spoke out against the movie saying that the leper community already feels ostracized and that movies should stop depicting lepers as people to avoid.

The British organization Lepra Health in Action wrote on its website:

“Leprosy is not an easy disease to catch, it is curable, those affected should live within mainstream society and no – limbs don’t just fall off. Not even for comic effect.”

Do you think the scene was offensive? Do you think Aardman Animation made the right call to get rid of the leper pirate scene?

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21 Responses to “Leper Pirates Scene Removed From ‘The Pirates!’ After Complaints [Video]”

  1. Nigel Anthony Sellars

    It's a cartoon, fer chris'sake. Everyone in a cartoon is portrayed in a silly, insensitive fashion. That's why it's funny and why it's a cartoon. At this rate, we won't have any comedies or cartoons in the future. And leprosy has a lobbying group? What's next? Complaints about insensitive portrayals of eczema victims? A ban on irritable bowel syndrome references? No more acne jokes? It's not like it's race or ethnicity, or stupidity, for that matter, people. And it's clearly not meant to be specifically cruel or hateful, just silly.

  2. Dennis Button

    I guess the eye ball falling out of the persons head is okay though?

  3. Gene Rizzardi

    UNBELIEVABLE I am upset by the depiction of Tall People! Geez what is the world coming to, how many lepers are going to watch this movie and be upset? Funny things happen in Cartoons, these people should laugh a bit more it might help their health!

  4. Justin Gibson

    Did anyone see the ghost scene close to the end of the preview? I have former relatives who may be ghosts. I find the way they are portrayed in this movie to be offensive. Ghosts should not be made fun of, and being stuck in an eternal state of unrest is not funny.

  5. Linda Heltzel

    Damn right leprosy has a lobbying group! I toured a leprosy facility in Louisiana with a person who had leprosy and there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. I don't blame them for wanting the scene cut from the movie. We WILL have comedies in the future, Mr. Sellars, but without such depiction of leprosy victims. There are many more "things" to be made fun of, not people. :)

  6. Joseph Johnson

    When I first read this I thought how stupid., But on reflection, I don't want to see, even a cartoon make fun of blind people, or handicapped people. I don't want to here the N word or F word even in cartoons. I do think there are times when we do go overboard with PC correctness, but there are times when we must respect all.

  7. Albert Levy

    they should have left the scene in the movie… holy shit don't people have anything else to do except complain…WOW!

  8. Roxanne Klingler

    Good Grief! It's a flippin' cartoon! Everyone watches a cartoon and expects total realism! SHEESH! As far as history goes, if you want to go there, Lepers were talked about in the Bible and EVERYONE avoided them! FACT! They THOUGHT these things actually happened! At what point do you whiny "watch groups" think that ANY OF THIS CARTOON IS REAL? PUH-LEZE! Get over yourselves! Thanks for taking away things from the Majority!

  9. Hoku Haiku

    Actually I just spent a week on Molokai, volunteering at the Kalaupapa Settlement. Lots a heartbreaking stories. Google "Kalaupapa" and educate yourself.

  10. Rob St Amant

    As a representative for the Living Impaired I am deeply disturbed by the portrayal of ghosts near the end of this clip. Furthermore, one of the characters appears to be an albino. You will be hearing from the Pigmentation-Challenged Civil Liberties group shortly.

  11. Alex Canterbury

    Why is it ok to depict Pirates as fun happy exploring go getters,

    But bad to make a historical reference?

  12. Leprosy Out Loud

    Unfortunately leprosy is not just historical, over 3 million people are disabled by the disease and there are 1/4 million new cases each year, which often result in people being thrown of of their communities due to incorrect information such as that promoted in the Aardman film. Leprosy is not a joke for millions of people. Good that Aardman has recognised that.

  13. Alex Canterbury

    Leprosy Out Loud The Lepper boat is a reference to the boats that were used during the medival ages all the way to the British empire, in order to isolate people who were affected on an Island because there was very little understanding on how leprosy was spread during the time the film is set.

    Also in that case pirates are not a funny joke, please refer to Somalia.

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