Epilepsy

Seizures – No Laughing Matter

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Seizure jokes. An all too common occurrence seen within our world. The spotlight tends to shine more prevalent in the Hollywood realm. Seizure jokes used as a punch line by comedians. Seizure jokes used within television shows, by celebrities you may or may not expect. By our youth who may not have a full grasp of what seizures and epilepsy truly have the capability of doing to a person.  Seizure jokes are happening in a plethora of areas within our world and its an extreme sign that we indeed are in need of epilepsy education still.

Hollywood using seizures as a joke or punch-line is nothing new unfortunately. For instance, ‘Tower Heist’ Director Brett Ratner made an apology in the past, upon Greg Grunberg (Who has a son with epilepsy) issuing a boycott over the action-comedy.

Greg Grunberg was upset over an exchange during which Eddie Murphy’s character pokes fun at Stiller’s character over a childhood ailment, calling him “little seizure boy” twice. After watching the trailer, Greg Grunberg expressed his frustration to his Twitter followers.

“TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE TRAILER for #TowerHeist – Making fun @ people w/ seizures is NOT FUNNY & WRONG! “Seizure Boy!” REALLY? #Boycott RT,” he tweeted.

“I am so sorry you are offended. … I sincerely feel bad,” Ratner wrote to Grunberg.

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As yet an additional example, this past Sunday, as my husband and I sat down to unwind after a long week, we decided to catch the brand new ABC television show Rising Star. I was intrigued by the idea of how the audience has the final say in real time so we both decided to tune in to watch. The show went on to be quite interesting to say the least. I was especially impressed by Jesse Kinch’s performance. However, following the performance of Jesse Kinch, I was stunned by Brad Paisley’s comments regarding Jesse’s performance.

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I could tell too, by looking at those on stage and around Brad Paisley, they were slightly uncomfortable with the comments made as well. Following Jesse Kinch’s amazing performance, Brad Paisley commented “I think you gave someone a seizure at home. I think you killed somebody.” Upon hearing those words, my husband and I both looked at each other in astonishment as if to verify if we had heard what we had heard correctly. It indeed did prove to be true. In that moment, I felt a mix of both hurt and anger at the comments I just heard. The fact that some of the audience members laughed at the joke that had just been made. Finding it funny. I certainly did not find that to be funny and I knew that thousands of others would not find that to be funny either. Jesse Kinch, you could tell by the kindness in his eyes and the look upon his face, wanted no part of that comment either but was gracious in his response.

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Jesse Kinch – I Put A Spell On You – Rising… by IdolxMuzic (Brad Paisley Comment at 5:44)

Upon hearing this comment, I felt compelled to take to Facebook, Instagram and also Twitter, via my account and The Epilepsy Network (TEN), and let Brad Paisley know how hurtful such a comment he made was, to myself and to so many living with a seizure condition and epilepsy. There was so much that I wanted to say, but as its known, Twitter only allows 140 characters so I asked if he would retweet my video “The World Needs To Know” in support of Epilepsy Awareness and become better educated on the facts of epilepsy. That, joking about seizures is no laughing matter. Some have died as a result of a seizure. Jokes about seizures are hurtful and offensive. Not knowing whether or not a response would be given, I felt satisfied in knowing that I had done what was necessary to make the point clear and left it at that.

When I had awoken the next morning, I arose to discover that fellow epilepsy advocates, those also on the journey of epilepsy, friends and family, and people I’d never met before, from around the globe, had taken notice of Brad Paisley’s comment on Rising Star on Sunday night and had taken notice of my step forward to let Brad Paisley know that joking about seizures is not a laughing matter.

Even more surprising, Brad Paisley himself took notice of my comments. He personally reached out to me and The Epilepsy Network (TEN). Retweeting my Epilepsy Awareness video “The World Needs To Know” and apologizing for his poor choice of words. Extending his full support for epilepsy awareness.

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In seeing Brad Paisley’s response, it made me happy to know that he reached out to let me and the entire epilepsy community know that he did not mean to offend. Too, it let me know that epilepsy awareness truly is very much needed still in our world today. Brad Paisley has since followed The Epilepsy Network (TEN) on Twitter and says that he will be sure to look more into what epilepsy is about, which is a positive result I feel in all of this.

Some have said that they would like him to make a public statement of apology on next Sunday’s show. I think that would be an excellent idea too! If he would do that and ABC would allow it, I would be smiling all for him to do this. Whether this will happen, only time will tell. You know I will be watching this Sunday.

As for Brad Paisley reaching out and apologizing, I do thank him most certainly for doing so. My hope is that in going forward, he will be more compassionate on the topic of seizures and to not joke about seizures in any way, shape or form. Perhaps, he may take the time to learn more about epilepsy and seizures and donate his time to charities and events. It is an even greater hope that one day, seizures and epilepsy will no longer be used as a joke or a punch line by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Especially in Hollywood.

Seizures are just not a laughing matter.

I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!

3 Comments

  • Mylene Delaire

    Hi There!

    I like your website!!! We are instagram friends, and I just read what you wrote about this singer who made a “Joke/comment” on tv about seizures. I have to say that I do agree, but I cannot really be mad at him.

    Humor saves my life! I could not survive without joking, laughing, and teasing. I have been diagnosed with epilepsy about 13 years ago, and I have both grand mal seizures and jerks. I don’t think the wrong part is so much about what he said, but more because of who he is. It’s like if I was making a joke about jews or black people. I am neither, so it would be a little offensive from me to make a joke about something that people have no control over. We are who we are.
    I do have friends who make funny comments about seizures. My boyfriend makes fun of me seizing sometimes…. but guess what? he takes showers in the dark not to wake me up so I don’t seize. The first thing he does when he wakes up is picking me up a glass of water so it helps not seizing either. He takes care of me every single time I would seize. He would take me to the hospital, cheer me up when I get depressed, would bring me food, would give me confidence after I broke my jaw and got wired it shut for 5 weeks! He covers my eyes when we are in a concert and they put strobe lights. He wears the little purple bracelet of the foundation I created to spread epilepsy awareness…. talks about epilepsy every time he can to everyone. He supports me 100% and suffers just as much as I do. All that because he loves me…. But sometimes he will make a little funny comment about seizing, and I cannot blame him for that. We need to let it go. We need to laugh about it. It’s already taking a big toll on us, so let’s not let it break us 😉 I make joke about it all the time! There is a part of me that truly believe that we time travel!! Is that bad? I don’t think so. I just want people to know about it so they can accept us and help us.

    I do not know much about this singer, but maybe he has someone near him who has seizures. Maybe he has seizures! Who would know?? NO ONE! Why? Because we do not talk about it enough!

    You are right. Seizures are not a laughing matter. People have died from it and suffer from it everyday…. but you did an incredible thing! You turned it around, and maybe people will now know more about it because of what you wrote. You are tremendously helping spreading awareness, and I thank you for that.

    I understand exactly what you mean. I would have react the exact same way… But I also wanted to share what I thought about the joking part. People do not think and say stupid stuffs all the time…. unfortunately, it’s hard to take it back. It doesn’t mean they are terrible people….

    So thank you for having such a cool website. Thank you for being such a cool advocate! I love your picture and your purple hair! I’m doing it in November! hahaha

    Who knows… Maybe one day we’ll meet! 🙂

    PS: Sorry I am still working on my english :-$

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