Leper Pirates: What is the Leprosy? [ORIGINAL TRAILER]

 @IBTScience
on January 27 2012 9:44 AM

A scene from stop-motion trailer for The Pirates: Band of Misfits caused such a furor with a leprosy advocacy group, the film animators yanked the bit before the movie's release.

The movie trailer from Aardman Animation included a scene where the film's heroes enter aboard a ship of pirate lepers.

One of the ashen leper pirates says, I'm afraid we don't have any gold, old man. This is a leper boat. See?

His arm falls off and the hero pirate looks shocked.

The scene also shocked advocacy group LEPRA Health In Action, which successfully protested to get the scene pulled from the film.

We've worked for years to try and overcome the misconceptions and stigma associated with leprosy to create a situation where people come forward for treatment in good time, Sarah Nancollas, chief executive with LEPRA Health in Action, said in a video statement.

It certainly doesn't, as is being portrayed in this film trailer from Aardman The Pirates: A Bunch (sic) of Misfits cause your arm to fall off.

Leprosy is curable and if treated early, doesn't cause visible disabilities.

You might ask if we've had a sense of humor failure over this, but if you could see the lives of people that are affected by leprosy because of the stigma and discrimination they face in their community, then you would understand why we are raising this issue, she added.

Leprosy is caused by a bacterial infection that has infected 213,000 people mainly in Asia and Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

The disease is slow acting and can incubate in a body for 20 years before symptoms appear, which can cause permanent damage to skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.

Now leprosy can be cured with multiple antibiotics and worldwide, 14 million people have been cured, according to WHO. At its peak, 5.2 million people had the infection in 1985.

The animation company, known for its Claymation films such as Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, dediced to pull the scene.

In a statement, the company wrote: After reviewing the matter, we decided to change the scene out of respect and sensitivity for those who suffer from leprosy. The last thing anyone intended was to offend anyone and it is clear to us that the right way to proceed is to honor the efforts made by organizations like ILEP to educate the public about this disease.

After the filmmakers removed the scene, LEPRA responded with this statement: Although we are genuinely delighted that Aardman has decided to amend the film, what has impressed our organisation most is the film-makers comments about respect and sensitivity. These words underline the importance of our work in the field and the dignity of those whose lives are affected by leprosy. Aardman has recognised the impact that this scene could have on this basic human right.

The Pirates: Band of Misfits will be released April 27.

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