Knoxville girl boycotts movie because of insensitive comments

By: Allison Kropff Email
By: Allison Kropff Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Reviews for the movie, "The Change Up" were average, but reviews from people right here in Knoxville are much worse.

We talked to a 7th grader who says you should boycott the film because it makes fun of people with disabilities.

Here are letters from the National Down Syndrome Society to the director and producer of the movie, "The Change Up."

They express concern about comments made in the film. Now a Knoxville girl is boycotting the film and has created a petition of her own."

For two weeks, "The Change Up" has played on big screens across the country. But you won't see 12-year-old Leah Ely in the theater and she wants you to boycott it too.

"I really don't think they should watch it because it seems really inappropriate as it is, then, going ahead and making fun of children with Down Syndrome, it will offend a lot of people and I don't think anybody should want to watch it."

In the film, an actor calls a child "retarded" and says it looks "Downsy." Words that hurt Leah, because her 5-month-old niece Paloma was born with Down Syndrome.

"It just made me really mad because she didn't do anything to these producers and these directors, so why would they want to bash them?"

Leah's mother Michele is proud Leah is involved and hopes others will stand up for people like her granddaughter.

"It isn't right they should be made fun of or that anyone should be made fun of because of a disability."

Leah's taking her petition door to door, trying to get her neighbors to sign on.

"I'm hoping that if we get enough signatures on this petition, I can bring it to movie theaters to get them to realize there are going to be a lot of people not going to watch it."

Leah has made several calls to movie theaters, but only gets answering machines. She always leaves her number and email in hopes of getting a response some time soon.


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  • by Anonymous Location: Knoxville on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:30 AM
    This is not WATE.
  • by DEB Location: KNOXVILLE on Aug 17, 2011 at 02:53 PM
    MY HUSBAND AND I USE PLUGGEDINONLINE.COM TO RATE MOVIES. WE HAVE DECIDED THAT R RATED AND EVEN SOME PG-13 MOVIES ARE JUST NOT WORTH WATCHING. PLUGGED IN HELPS US DECIDE. HOLLYWOOD IS NOT KNOWN FOR ITS SENSITIVITY TO ANYONE ELSE BUT ITS OWN.
  • by Sherri Location: Jefferson City on Aug 17, 2011 at 01:46 PM
    I applaud Leah for taking a stand. On the other hand, I saw this movie, but was not offended by anything said. The characters role was to be a crude and rude person who never grew up or considered other people's feeling before his own. The movie had a very strong point to make, but that point wasn't to offend anybody. Aside from the foul language, it is a really good movie!
  • by David Location: Knox on Aug 17, 2011 at 01:20 PM
    We don't censor movies in the United States. The only movie that has ever been banned that I can remember was Death Of A President which was a fictional movie about then president Bush's assassination. It was awesome.
  • by David Location: Knox on Aug 17, 2011 at 01:15 PM
    This is WVLT.
  • by lisa Location: knoxville on Aug 17, 2011 at 12:39 PM
    the you lady is 12...the movie isnt rated g so she shouldnt be watching it anyway.
  • by Michele Location: Knoxville on Aug 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM
    I am Leah's mom and just want to say how very proud I am of Leah. I also want to assure everyone that Leah absolutely did NOT see this movie. She is not even allowed to watch PG-13. She heard her sister and I talking about it. We read about it in a blog... we have not seen it either. Having a child with special needs in our family has made us all want to make a difference and to protect those who can not always speak for themselves.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM
    Jim.....Leah of course did not see the movie. My oldest sister was upset, so it caused leah to be upset. After having a child born with Downs Syndrome in our family we view things a little differently, and yes some movies are mean and I wish people could see things the way we do because people with special needs did not chose that for themselves and should not be made fun of... Leah was just standing up for what she believes in...Isnt that what we should teach our children to do??????
  • by Lindsey Location: maryville Tn on Aug 17, 2011 at 10:19 AM
    Leah, you are a very smart young lady! Keep up the good work and know that you are making a difference and one day Paloma will be so proud of you!
  • by Compu Location: Smithville on Aug 17, 2011 at 09:18 AM
    Hope she didnt actually watch the movie it's rated R. Not a movie for kids or the family
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