Albino group slams comedy for offensive portrayal

A support group for people with the genetic condition albinism has slammed as offensive the comedy movie The Heat for labelling an albino character ”snow cone” and ”evil”.

Shari Parker, secretary of the Albinism Fellowship of Australia, said she felt embarrassed and humiliated by the movie. She said it was ”yet another film adding greater weight to the negative and inaccurate portrayal of albinism”.

Dr Parker said an albino character in The Heat is presented as ”a misogynistic jerk” reinforcing the negative stereotype of people with albinism in the media, ”which spills over into the accepted norm of attitude to people with albinism in society”.

Albinism is a rare genetic condition affecting about 1200 Australians. Albinos cannot, or have limited ability, to produce melanin, responsible for the colouring in skin, hair and eyes. Most are legally blind.

In The Heat, when obnoxious Boston cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) first confronts the albino character, aggressive Drug Enforcement Administration officer Craig, whose drug investigation she has stumbled on to, she exclaims, referring to his appearance, ”What the hell is that?”

In a reference to the evil albino monk in The Da Vinci Code, Mullins says she was alarmed to see him ”because you looked evil as shit”.

After Craig accuses Mullins and her FBI agent partner Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) of being overexcited, hormonal women, Mullins says Craig’s wife must be ”a five-pound bag of flour with a hole in it”.

Mullins later calls Craig a ”snow cone” and says ”are you OK because you look really pale”.

Dr Parker, a medical doctor who has albinism, said for children, The Heat’s ”throwaway lines about people with albinism will be used as material for teasing and taunting in the playground, increasing the repertoire of teasing for those so inclined”.

Dr Parker said watching The Heat in the cinema, ”I heard everyone else laugh and it made me so sad.” She feared she would be pointed out and laughed at as an albino.

The Heat director Paul Feig is quoted on buzzfeed贵阳夜网 as saying he didn’t like comedy that made fun of physical appearance. He said the albino in The Heat is teased ”because we made him such an asshole”, and to send up ”the idea that albinos are always portrayed as the bad guys”.

But Dr Parker said most people wouldn’t have ”got” that subtlety because it was lost amid was the ”flurry of insults” against the albino character.

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