Advocates Call For Boycott Of "Leland"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 6, 2004
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--Families and advocates of people who have autism are raising concerns about a new movie, "The United State of Leland", which opens across the U.S. and Canada on Friday, April 9.
Some are calling for a boycott, and have even phoned local theaters to ask them to not show the film.
According to the movie's website, the film looks into the reasons why a teenager (Leland) murders his girlfriend's brother, who is described as "autistic".
Some who have seen the film, which opened in a few large cities last Friday, say the movie suggests that the main character kills the boy as an "act of kindness" because he "is better off dead". The flyer from the Loew's theater chain reportedly refers to the murder as "emotional euthanasia".
A group of parents and advocates have started an online petition to protest the film and the message they claim justifies violence against people with disabilities.
"This disturbs all of us because at a time when we are fighting for the rights of our children it is unnecessary and damaging to our cause/convictions to portray our children as helpless victims of an illness in which death becomes a welcomed 'euthanasia' for the child," the petition reads. "We are afraid that there willing be negative repercussions as a result of the inaccurate portrayal of an autistic person's value in today's society. Violence and discrimination of the disabled needs to stop and this movie does nothing more than promote it."
The movie's website includes a discussion forum where readers can read other opinions and post their own.
Boycott the movie "United States of Leland" (Online Petition)
"United States of Leland" (Paramount Classics)
(Click on the "Post your opinion. . . " button for the discussion forum)