Disney on defensive over Bubble Boy

BALTIMORE: Disney's upcoming goofball comedy Bubble Boy has

attracted the ire of the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), an

organization that raises awareness about immune deficiency diseases.



Bubble Boy, released August 24, is the story of Jimmy Livingston, a

eenager who must journey out into the world in his plastic bubble to

stop his high-school sweetheart from marrying another man. The movie

includes scenes of Jimmy being rammed by a semi truck and tossed around

like a beach ball at a rock concert. Disney is marketing the movie

toward teenage boys between the ages of 12 and 14.



There are 50,000 people in the US diagnosed with primary immune

deficiency diseases every year. The IDF asked Disney to pull the movie

because it mocks people with Severe Combined Immuno Deficiency (SCID), a

disease that increases susceptibility to illnesses and infections.

Disney declined the group's request.



The IDF has encouraged its 17,000 members to write letters to their

local newspapers, and more than 100 have been published so far. The

group's plight has been featured on the Today show, MSNBC, CNN, and the

Fox News Channel.



Some members of the IDF plan to hand out educational literature at

multiplexes where the movie is showing, and encourage people to boycott

the movie.



There has only been one "boy in a bubble." His name was David Vetter,

and he lived in a germ-free bubble until he became ill and died at the

age of 12. His mother, Carol Ann Demaret, a member of the IDF, has been

one of the most vocal opponents of the movie.



"The notion of making a comedy about a life-threatening disease is, in

and of itself, a travesty. It makes a mockery of humanity," she wrote in

an open letter. "It dishonors the memory of my son, David, and is an

insult to every primary immune-deficient patient."



Disney has refused to speak with the press. It issued a one-paragraph

statement that read: "We are sensitive to the concerns raised on behalf

of those with immune deficiency, and we want to assure them that the

film portrays Jimmy Livingston as a resourceful, courageous, and heroic

character."



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