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
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