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?