Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Disability portrayal

The debate continues

So after the initial brew ha that followed the premiere of  the film Me Before You the battle to protect the rights of vulnerable disabled people goes on. Those who campaigned so vocally at the premiere deserve our thanks and it seems their efforts attracted  a great deal of mainstream and social media attention. Catherine Garrod, a NDYUK supporter, posted  a Twitter update showing that our protest attracted 2,300 retweets, 1,900 likes, 236 replies 404,200 impressions, 11,800 visits to our profile page (up by over 1000%!) 837 mentions in the past 2 weeks. Our top tweet received 178 retweets and 20,000 impressions.  So the word is getting out there!

Alison Wilde a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, whose research is centred around on screen representations of impairment and disability, with a focus often placed on gender and audience interpretations has posted an interesting and informative piece about the film.  Alison Wild Blog

Alongside all of this the recent decision to allow assisted suicide in California reminds us all that the fight must continue. Kathleen Palmer, an opinion writer for the Washington Post, in her piece “Freedom to kill, permission to die” writes “Perhaps I read too many dystopian science-fiction novels during my formative years, but there’s something disturbing about asking doctors to help their patients die.” you can read the complete article at Freedom to Kill Permission to die

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Disability portrayal

“Me Before You” Film panned by Not Dead Yet UK

The latest blockbuster to come out of Hollywood called ‘Me Before You’ is seen as a gross misrepresentation of the lived experience of most disabled people. The film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name.  A young man becomes disabled, he falls in love with his ‘carer’ and they have a fantastic year together but despite her protests, he decides to end his life at Dignitas so she can move on and he is no longer a burden to her.

A critique of the book by Crippled Scholar can be found at http://bit.ly/25bbRf6

Not Dead Yet UK is deeply concerned to see yet another film which casts non-disabled people as disabled people and shows the lives of disabled people as not worth living.

The film premiered at the Curzon in Mayfair at 7pm on the 25th May.

Further coverage of the protest and concerns around the film:

This film did not raise the issue of medication intake and cost of medication.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Blog Care Not Killing Disability Disability portrayal

Disability, Assisted Suicide and the Film Industry

On 10th February, the BBC aired a disturbing documentary entitled “How to Die: Simon’s Choice”. The documentary followed Simon Binner a 57-year-old with motor neurone disease in the months before his assisted suicide at a Swiss suicide clinic last October.

The disturbing documentary has rightly been criticised by Care Not Killing, who said that it “risks skewing what people think about assisted suicide and sidelines alternatives, such as hospice and palliative care. It gives the impression that if you’re disabled or terminally ill your life is somehow worthless and you should kill yourself. Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in this country and the more it is normalised, the more people will think of it as a way out”.

This programme was yet another example of disability portrayal which promotes the idea that death is preferable to being disabled. There is nothing new in this; the film industry has been trotting out this message for years, who can forget Born on the 4th of July with Tom Cruise!

Dominick Evans a wheelchair user, who describes himself, as an “activist, filmmaker and speaker” has recently published an interesting article which discusses disability portrayal and assisted dying.

Picture of Dominick Evans
Dominick Evans

Dominick a New Yorker says, “I believe that if Hollywood showed more disabled actors, particularly wheelchair users, who we never see, and the stories were more reflective of the disabled experience, then people would believe disabled lives were worth living. There is a huge difference between a debilitating illness, such as brain cancer, in the end stages, and a person with a disability who is not dying. You can find success, love, fulfillment even if you happen to use a wheelchair. It is not the end of the world, and these films need to stop scaring people into thinking it is. We cannot change the narrative about disability when these kinds of films continued to be made”.

You can read the full article “Hollywood promotes the idea it is better to be dead than disabled”  by clicking here Dominick’s artcle