Hansel and Gretel…All Together Now…..S-T-I-N-K-O!

Hansel and GretelThe poor boy has been given the ‘sugar sickness’ from a deranged (are there any other types in the ‘bad’ category) witch that forced him to eat ‘evil candy’ with a result of injections needed daily for the rest of his life or he will ‘die on the spot’.   Such is the poor plight of one Hansel in last weekend’s highest grossing film ($19 million dollars) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Really?  $11.00 to watch that in 3D to be reminded and to take away so much that is wrong in this film?  The DOC (diabetes online community) has been abuzz of late about everything that is wrong with this film.  Usually my reaction would be to take this on with a full court press.  Honestly, why bother?  Controversy only helps sell more tickets (ever wonder why some celebs’ bone-head moves seem to happen right around the opening of a new film, TV show, or the release of a book?—-trust me it is no accident).  So let us not give this any more than necessary.  We all get it.  This one is a disaster.

This film will die a death on its own. Good.  Many thought that the release this month was due to the success of Jeremy Renner coming off of Avengers and Bourne Legacy; I would argue the point that the film had to be released and to do it in January, the waste heap for the year’s movie releases going nowhere, was sending it to the abyss.  I would further argue the point that the garbage can would have been a better choice.

But that answer comes from Diabetes Dad because this film has more wrong about diabetes than all of the other films we have complained about in the past; combined.  It’s more than the ‘evil candy’ and ‘sugar sickness’ Hansel tends to by jabbing injections through his clothing (what a man), the whole movie is just wrong.  Seems every witch needing to be destroyed has a deformity of some sort as well.  The movie is just a horrid example of ………..let’s just say everything.  Train-wreck fits perfectly.

The twice Oscar nominated Renner (Hurt Locker & The Town) has early in his career filmed what we can only hope is his Ishtar or Waterworld (considered two of the biggest bombs ever made).  With a 50 million dollar budget and only 19 in its opening weekend and a ‘B’ audience rating (at its best), rest assured that kids are not ‘talking this film up’ in hallways across the country.  That’s a good thing.

Perhaps we should not talk about it in the diabetes community either; that way it can die and die quickly.  Why give it ‘ANY INK’ whatsoever?  Any controversy will only help this ‘stinko’ of a film and why give it any fanfare?  And we should be careful because too much fanfare of any kind could mean success and a successful movie would result in even a bigger problem…….this movie turned in to a video game; I wonder how many points for Hansel to inject while blowing-up a witch into oblivion?  May we never find out.

I am a diabetes dad.

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46 replies on “Hansel and Gretel…All Together Now…..S-T-I-N-K-O!”

If you have a youngster that has plans to go to this movie. Make sure to emphases the difference between fact and fiction. This movie is a Fairy Tail and should be treated as such.

When I saw this movie in the theater preview, I thought that this would be something cool to watch. Directly after that I bet a friend that they would make some stupid diabetes comment about sugar. OF COURSE I won that bet! Honestly, I can’t just let this one “go”. I am truly starting to look at this media and diabetes problem in a more serious light. I truly look at this as a very serious form of bullying on children who are fighting for their lives. Let’s get real. If this were any other serious, life threatening, chronic disease, people wouldn’t put up with this. I truly hope that something happens legally that makes the media accountable for their part in spreading their “opinion” of diabetes that is directly and contributing to the bullying of my 7 year old.

WOW Sarah—-what an incredible response and one which needs to be taken seriously, very seriously. Let me think about your response a bit—I may give in room in tomorrow’s column—it is THAT good. Thank you for relaying your honest feelings. WOW!

The bullying angle is a very valid one. Here in the UK our government is trying to change peoples eating habits and came up with the ongoing Change4life campaign. The original campaign did not distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2, and directly contributed to young children being bullied at school with kids calling them ‘fat’ and saying they brought their diabetes upon themselves. A group of CWD mums used the bullying angle and took on the government. We sent them letters from the children citing examples of the bullying. It took several days and a lot of wriggling and squirming from the Dept for Health, but we got the campaign changed (at great expense) to include those two little words – Type 2. Tom – I know you asked for responses here rather than on Facebook – but if you want to know more about it the person to find is Becca Gumble on CWD who spearheaded the campaign.

I completely agree with Sarah’s comments. Its so unfortunate that any child have to see or hear negative things about such a terrible disease that they live with. I too have a Type 1 child and as well am a Type 1 diabetic. I am horrified of every bullying act and to add diabetes as a teasing factor scares me for my daughter.

You’re right Sarah and much of it boils down, I believe, to diabetes being the only common chronic condition where the patients are blamed for having it. This is due to the media perpetuating all the stereotypes out there and lumping all diabetics under a single diagnostic code.

This does indeed amount to bullying because it is stigmatizing. Being that it “is their own fault” makes it difficult for people to seek treatment and find support, even among their own family at times.

Thanks Scott….good points as usual.
The whole stigma stereotype is starting to really infuriate me. At the start, I just blew the movie off….so what I thought….now, not too sure. But as always it is what can we possibly do? Maybe we’ll just find out.

Unfortunately, I think we drew the short straw, when it came too easy to mock illness. While it really upsets me sometimes. I can see why people who know nothing about it are quick to joke.

Diabetes is seen as self inflicted by fat people, yuck!, not a trendy disenfranchised minority (Not saying this to attack any group. But when looking for people to defend, people like to see clear victims). It’s also viewed as reversible, and not that serious. Compare how many light hearted jokes you hear about cancer, to those about diabetes, the difference? Perception, people realise how terrible cancer can be. But they don’t really understand how terrible diabetes can be. This makes joking about it not a big deal, to some people.

Finally because of the association to sweet food there are just more opportunities to crack jokes about diabetes, than other health problems.

Sarah, I too am getting fed up with diabetes being used for a cheap laugh. I don’t think we are the only medical condition to ever be mocked, but we seem to get more than our fair share of low blows, that belittle the condition and make light of the huge impact it has on lives.

I can remember Chelsea Handler doing a sketch about the Jonas Brothers. In the skit, there was a parody of a song that Nick Jonas wrote about being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The only line I can remember is “I don’t want to lose my feeties to type 1 diabetes”. I am not a fan of the Jonas Brothers music, but I could not help but think, if this show had mocked any other 16/17 year old(I think Nick was that age when the show aired) with a disease that put them in the highest risk group for kidney failure, blindness, non traumatic amputation, stroke and heart attack. About that disease and it was not called diabetes, the show would be taken off air.

Edit* just wanted to add, it was Chelsea Handlers show that made up the line about losing feet to diabetes. Not Nick Jonas!

I had not even heard of the movie until now. Most definitely will boycott watching this. And Sarah Lambert could not have stated it better “I am truly starting to look at this media and diabetes problem in a more serious light. I truly look at this as a very serious form of bullying on children who are fighting for their lives. Let’s get real. If this were any other serious, life threatening, chronic disease, people wouldn’t put up with this”. We as parents of a daughter with type 1 diabetes are in the most difficult fight of our daughter’s life dealing with bullying school personnel who just do not understand type 1 diabetes. They “think and feel” that just by looking at her she is perfectly healthy in their eyes and they can tell there is nothing wrong with her. Having 16 diabetics at the school and they all seem perfectly healthy. Because our daughter is having health issues, the school continuously misquotes their “uneducated information” on that diabetes isn’t that bad and she should just get over it. We feel that movies and the media portrayals do such a major disservice to all people with diabetes. I am constantly asked, after treating a hypo or a hyper bg, “is she fine now”? Even had a school office manager ask if my daughter would be “allowed to attend college “due to her condition”?? People have been misinformed and I will stop at nothing to educate the uneducated. I agree with Diabetes Dad, that attacking the film makers of Hansel and Gretel will do nothing more than promote ratings and will not resolve our issue of trying to educate the uneducated. Another TV crew yesterday told the story of a 9 year old girl who saved her mother’s life during a diabetic shock while driving on the freeway. The girl is a hero, but the news reporter stated that the mother would be receiving an insulin pump that would prevent this from happening again..UGH!!!

I’m boycotting it. Because of the stigma of diabetes being self inflicted, I’ve sat at a table with school administration claiming I should fix my 7 year olds diet and that way they won’t need him to get assistance at school. Crap like this doesn’t help our situation!

I haven’t seen it and I admit I boycott movies and media that screw it up in today’s setting. I did see previews and if I am not mistaken it is set a Ina fairy tale setting and in the past. Hansel and Gretel was set in the early 1600s to 1700s and that was before insulin so it sounds like they set the movie in between multiple time periods. This sounds definitely fictional in areas and that is how I took it as for kids should not be seeing this as it is rated R and any adult not smart enough to know fiction from fact really needs educating so use this as a door while we wait for it to go away as a flop.

Is it possible to sue them or make the legally accountable? If this were to happen it would do a few things. 1. Let the media know how much of a problem this is and how it is hurting people, especially children and parents dealing with a diagnoses of a life threatening disease. If they continue spreading painful lies, there will be consequences! 2. If finances were gained, it could be used to help raise awareness, which in turn can help raise money for possible cures.

The emotional distress alone put on the families by spreading LIES and accusations of fault of diagnoses of diabetes are beyond emotionally distress. Scott Strange is correct in saying that, “This does indeed amount to bullying because it is stigmatizing. Being that it “is their own fault” makes it difficult for people to seek treatment and find support, even among their own family at times.” Children and Adults health care can be severally impacted by this. Since, when it widely excepted to make fun of children and their families, or anyone who is fighting a deadly disease for their lives daily. As D parents we know the devastation this disease brings and everything it entails. I think it’s time we got together and took care of this media problem once and for all.

With all that our children have to endure in their everyday lives, is it really fair of us to just let this keep sliding under the rug. I have not seen this movie and refuse to, as I am afraid I will throw up in the theater. I have read some of the reviews and comments on the web pages and I believe that a large part of the movie may be circling around the “don’t eat the candy theme. It will give you diabetes where you will end up on insulin or die.” This bullying makes me sick. Also, I would like to add that simply making a differentiation between Type 1 and 2 is not going to cut it! While we all know that Type 1 is never caused by lifestyle choice, type 2 is not always either. There are many factors involved.

We need to do something about this!! This movie goes beyond a simple mistaken, inaccurate comment. They arrogantly made an entire movie bullying and spreading lies about a deadly disease that people including young children battle daily to stay alive!! This is so outrageous. Why are we not more OUTRAGED!!

My knee-jerk reaction is to say no. You cannot. Well you can but it would be thrown out immediately as it is a film and a fantasy as well and it by no means depicts truth anywhere…so legally the argument is what is the harm? One would know what to expect (everything being fantasy) upon purchasing a ticket. Plus the fact the controversary would only sell MORE tickets. I do not think the answer is what can be done with H&G–that trains has left the station; but rather; what is the answer moving forward?

They should be ashamed of themselves! They should donate a chunk of the movie’s proceeds to the Cure for diabetes TYPE 1. and apologise.

I can see diabetic dad points about not drawing any more attention to this film. I am not entirely happy giving the film the oxygen of publicity. However with this film, I actually think causing a fuss, may help spread some awareness.

I honestly don’t think it will draw much more attention to the film. I can’t see a group of people complaining about diabetes, getting a huge amount of media courage. And I don’t think it will make the film seem any more edgy, or attractive to viewers. I am also sure that some less empathic people will call us humourless, and tell us to just shut up.

However it may get people talking about the causes of diabetes. Personally my problem with the sugar causes diabetes “jokes”, are so many people actually believe it to be true. Just think, even if people do think we are overreacting to a dumb movie, they may still learn that type 1 diabetes is caused by an auto immune reaction, and not by an unhealthy lifestyle.

The government should back a campaign to educate people and children on the facts of T1 not only will it stop people thinking they know the answers but it could save life’s. Since my son was diagnosed people that have T2 (including some of my own family) or people that know someone with T2 tell me they are experts and I have even been told to stop over reacting if we have an hypo or hyper and if he gets a bug and say we are on 2 hr checks they look at me as if I am a sadist. But it’s my voice against the media and as one voice against the media it’s doomed straight away just wish these people could step into our world sometimes.

Maybe instead of saying “He/she has diabetes”, we should say “He/she has an autoimmune disorder that requires daily hormone injections”. And if they want more detail, they get an in-depth description of insulin-dependence in basic, simple terms. For me, explaining it to an adult is no different from explaining it to a small child. And with the media being what it is, it’s no wonder everybody thinks all diabetes is the same and is all caused by eating too much sugar. So, maybe we should be promoting this movie so we can promote the correct info and stimulate some discussion. You know, have a lesson on diabetes before the movie then a discussion about reality!

You try that with the crowd that goes to see this movie—-well….my guess is the result will not be favorable. I am still entertaining ideas and people are suggesting thoughtful ideas. Thanks for writing.

With a T1 kid, people are a little more willing (sometimes) to listen to our voice about the REALITY of T1 rather than the stereotype. But an adult T1 definitely battles the stigmatism that they brought it on themselves. That being said, our kids are growing up. They WILL be adults, so this will affect them EVEN MORE some day. What do we do now to break this stereotype? I don’t have a clue. We already call it IDDM (instead of diabetes) sometimes, but can we petition for a name change? What do you think?

The name will never happen unless teh charge is led by the medical profession….it took them a million years to agree with teh ADA what an average A1C should be so do nothold your breath. The name change is not teh answer either IMO –mainly because….well look at the many different types of Cancer—each is specific becuase it is explained often…..I am sure they get confused also. It can be done with the pounding of education. Driving the point home. Agian, all IMO.

you have to understand this is set in the olden days when it was actually thought that diabetes was caused from over consumption of sugary things. So I don’t view it too much as bullying I view it as keeping the movie in the setting of the times and the fears of parents of their children back then. If you look really hard you kind bullying in the simplest and most innocent of all things too.

Mine was to ask the question. I received messages that would break your heart of children who were absolutely bullied about diabetes at school—taunting and all. Taking on a larger education component would include this factor ‘in the net’, so to speak. Perhaps not in this movie as much but so much of it is just wrong—what it has done is open a dialogue….and that is a GREAT thing.

I went totally momma bear and “lost it” when I saw an article on this (happen to see it on the 1yr anniversary on the diagnosis our 12yr old T1 son, lucky to still be here with us)- So the timing was, um…yeah perfect. I ended up in a civil twitter convo with one writer who reviewed and mis-represented our community. He ended up saying his “…point was to mock the movie for it, not make a scientific point”. I responded that his point could have been further argued/won by noting the inaccuracy and I was merely hoping to help raise awareness on the misunderstanding of his comments. In the end, we thanked one another and so on, BLAH BLAH. You make a good point and it should have been ignored. I’m such a noob. But I couldn’t help it! The ignorance is so frustrating when you’re a parent; so I’m sure it is all the more for our kids. ~Signed forever mama bear. 😉

I just watched Hansel and Gretel and wow! I did not know that the diabetic community would react this angrily against a character.

Let me say for the record that I don’t believe the film’s portrayal of diabetes was 100% correct. Hansel might have had diabetes 2 from the looks of things. HOWEVER, I do believe that this film in no way was mocking the diabetic community. I have read in other forums of diabetics who loved the fact that Hansel suffered what they did, bringing light to their problems as well as being a cool, kick ass character (not to mention handsome) who didn’t let the fact that he needed insulin shots every couple of hours stop him from leading a very fulfilling life. This movie was very gory but I believe that if some of the diabetics went to watch it, especially the kids/teens, they wouldn’t feel like they were that much different from anyone else. The film, while not accurate, did get people like me curious about diabetes and doing research.

Incredibly negative take on this. Unlike a lot of negative commentators, I actually saw this flick. Was the protrayal of diabetes in this movie incorrect? Uh, yes. Pretty much everything in this movie was protrayed incorrectly. However, I think folks are overlooking that this great action movie hero had diabetes and still kicked arse all over the place. For once, somebody with our same problem (albeit a weird cartoonish version of it) was shown to be the biggest bad@** in an entire film universe, defeating a whole host of equally-cartoonish villains. How the heck will this film lead to bullying? Jeremy Renner is an incredibly popular action star right now… pretty much every little kid loved The Avengers. Now they see him being a complete awesome “witch hunter” while jabbing needles into his leg to deal with his sugar sickness. That’s not going to lead to bullying.

You talk about forum posts where folks are complaining… I’ve seen other forum posts where younger posters with diabetes are saying “It was cool to see a movie with an awesome guy who is like me!” “Diabetes Dads” might be horrified, but “Diabetes Kids” think this is awesome.

Meh. This blog post is far sillier than the bad movie it is about. At least the movie was self-aware.

Cleary by the number of replies, the dialogue was created; this was (and is always) my goal. I am sorry you found the post ‘far sillier than the movie’; in as much as I have my opinion, you are surely open to yours. If I write something, I always welcome the feedback. Thanks for giving your honest input.

The writer/director/hack who made Hansel and Gretel Tommy Wirkola has just given an interview with “damn good cup”. I don’t know if I can paste the link, I’ll understand if I can’t

Anyway his reasoning for including diabetes was

“We give Hansel diabetes, you know, because of all the sugar he ate in the fairytale. We tried to pay homage to that as much as we could. To the story. Hopefully in was in a fun way.”

Such a brilliant understanding of diabetes, it’s like listening to an endocrinologist.

You should spread this interview around so people and “educate” him. Hopefully, the media will know better next time. This also has him stating that he indeed was talking about “diabetes” so he can’t wiggle his way out of this one.

I am tempted to write to the JDRF or ADA and ask them to write an open letter to Mr Wirkola and Paramount Pictures stating what the real causes of diabetes are. Surely the kind of ignorance this film promotes could effect fundraising?

After looking up some more, I found another charming interview by the director. Guy really sounds like a winner. He’s obviously blessed enough to have no relatives with either diabetes or eating disorders. Hope no one ever informs him about diabulimia I’m sure he’d die laughing. Most of the time I don’t care about jokes, but this guys total glee at poking fun a diabetes is so annoying. Really can’t think of any other serious disease that you could get away with ridiculing so easily.

I imagined, when I was watching the movie, you or whoever it was who came up with idea, at a computer, typing it up, and coming up with the idea that Hansel would have diabetes and just giggling to yourself maniacally.

[Laughs] Yeah, that was actually… When I had this idea, when I started back in school, I also made a tiny little short film based on it as part of a school thing, and that idea was always in there from way back then. I just thought it would be fun to use the fairy tale as much as you could, and have fun with it. It’s a fun little thing. Actually, when I originally wrote it six or seven years ago, that original short film, Hansel had diabetes because of the candy, and Gretel had developed an eating disorder. That was never part of the pitch to the studio, but way back then they were both kind of hurting because of them eating so much candy.

If you can Please make a letter to the movie makers, and AD, JDRF and have the DOC sign it as a petition. I will sign and go above and beyond in having people on line sign. This is absurd. Beyond offensive and he needs to be aware and make this right! This is inexcusable and unexceptionable and the only way to make it change is to make a lot of noise about it.

1. If JDRF chooses to do a letter, they will. I would not include anyone or any organization unless you have specific written permission to do so. That said, there is power in numbers. 1. If you have not seen the film; do not rely on hearsay–go see it so you can speak from experience. 2. Do not ‘wait’ for someone to take this on; if you feel strongly—do it. 3. I would get feedback from others in the DOC and figure the best way to have the most impact. Best of luck.

If you want info of what to write, I am sure that a lot of people would be happy to give some input on it. This is bullying at it’s worst.

OK, the movie was lame and the portrayal of diabetes was inaccurate to a degree where I had no idea which type he had. But isn’t it at least a bit pleasant to see a diabetic as an action hero and not some poor, frail, near death figure who needed to be saved, for once? We’re often depicted as moments from death needing to be saved or given insulin to aid a hypo, just once it’s nice to be seen as someone doing something brave and not being the one who needs rescuing. At least he wasn’t fixed by magic.

Sue but they got so much way off……I’m greedy, I want it all and done right. But I had not, honestly, looked at it the way you presented—-thanks for your thoughts.

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