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From Lepers to Scientists. THE PIRATES hits a snag.

Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with an odd bit of news. It looks like the trailer for Aardman Animation's (WALLACE AND GROMIT) THE PIRATES has rubbed a few leprosy groups the wrong way. There (was) is scene in the film where the pirates board a ship filled with leprosy victims and a whole slew of jokes are made at their expense. Leprosy groups swarmed on the Bristol based animation mega giant including Lepra Health In Action and the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) with concerns that if the film were to contain the scene, those suffering from leprosy would feel alienated and the stigma that they must deal with on a day to day basis could be increased exponentially amongst youngsters.


So what does Aardman do? They switch the boat being filled with lepers to a boat being filled with scientists. I'm not quite sure how that effects the film, but it's Aardman, so I'll trust they know what they're doing. Aardman released this statement on the matter:

“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." - Aardman Animation.




- Mike McCutchen




Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST


    by Rob

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:49 a.m. CST

    I hope all their dicks fall off

    by SupermanIsMyGod

    It's a joke in a kids movie! Lighten up, people

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    by Geoff

    Perhaps they should remake pappilion then too?

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST

    So some leper hears a leper joke

    by Nozoki

    and get all broken up about it? Screw them.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Fucking lepers? Seriously?

    by DOGSOUP

    Fuck lepers. Keep the Tip indeed

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:57 a.m. CST

    There are lepers in this day and age?

    by Terrence

    Yes, call me a sheltered Westerner, but I didn't know they were still out there.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11 a.m. CST

    The problem is leper jokes are TOO funny

    by Bass Ackwards

    One of them might laugh their HEAD off! Its a surprising move by the studios actually, leper jokes could have kept this movie from being a bomb. Because it would have already been disarmed!!

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:01 a.m. CST

    You guys are morons

    by Monolith_Jones

    You get all bitchy over Lucas and Lost, or fucking Community, how about having some compassion for something that actually matters. If this was any other disease there would be no discussion about this. I know this will not matter, this site is filled with the lowest of the low.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST

    they are so thin skinned. they fall to pieces if you pick on them


  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Another example of the PC movement's

    by Kelly Grimes

    Right to censorship. It's pretty unbelievable how there's a group for everything, and they will find a problem with all manner of creations. I fully support sensitivity. I also fully support humour and light-heartedness. I believe 50/50 proved that both topics can be broached successfully this past year.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST


    by nikem3

    I feel its wrong how they portrayed fish in this trailer. Fish wearing hats? What kind of disgusting person would portray a fish in a hat?

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Why wasnt the leeper able to hear the jokes?

    by Eric

    because he left his ears in his other coat.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    From the Title I thought this was an article about SOPA

    by Orionsangels

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    all i want is a good pirates movie.

    by ben

    and i dont want them shooting silverware out of cannons in it either.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    The mother country is dead

    by shane peterson

    game over for that swamped isle

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Lepers shouldn't be allowed in theaters

    by JadedCynic

    I'm just sayin...

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Leprosy is hilarious. Fact!

    by Brian Hopper

    It is also treatable and curable, so why the sensitivity?

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Good for Aardman

    by CptBlood

    I'm ok with this.Leprosy is a terrble illness and still an epidemic in many third world countries. I like a sick joke as much as the next person but making lepers the butt of jokes in a family movie could effect peoples opinion of the illness and their attitude towards it. You wouldn't accept jokes made about a bunch of AIDS victims or cancer patients, why would you lepers ? ( except for the fact that their illness is generally inacurately potrayed as hilarious )

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST

    If anything, joking about leprosy could be a way to raise awareness.

    by Brian Hopper

    So it's really a missed opportunity. Nothing is beyond laughing at, including cancer and AIDS.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:37 a.m. CST

    In the immortal words of J.R. Bob Dobbs...

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Fuck em if they can't take a joke.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST

    So ... two lepers walk in a bar,

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    order a drink, enjoy it and leave. Welcome to Humor 2012. Really? A group is upset over an animated film set in the 18th Century? God, nowadays Mel Brooks would have had to get a nice job in real estate, instead of writer and director of classic comedies.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:40 a.m. CST

    The Ghostly Defense League remains eerily silent.

    by loki965

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:41 a.m. CST

    I hate sharing this planet with oversensitive idiots

    by TheNothing

    Laughter is cathartic. My father almost died of cancer, yet do you see me picketing showings of "50/50"? No, because I thought it was a great movie and I'm NOT a self-righteous prick who forces my opinion on others by demanding that a piece of pop culture be edited to appease my personal opinion. Get a life.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    I have an artificial limbs! F- This POS film!

    by girugamesh

    We of the artificial limb population are tired of being ridiculed! I join with my brothers with only one eye to revolt against this evil ploy to lessen our standing in society!! We are more then props in real life!! sarcasm switched off now.. Mel Brooks would be drawn and quartered for any of his films were released today....

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Let the Lepers sue

    by baba-lou2

    They won't have a leg to stand on thank you, I'm here all week

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Kgrimes, learn the definition of "censorship"

    by Andrew

    When a government conceals or blocks information in media, thats censorship. When a private business or individual FREELY decides to remove material that some find objectionable, its just called good taste. I know you and every other right wing douchebag have this crusade against being sensitive or "PC" but fuckitall, man - don't be so fucking ignorant.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    There's a guy with a false eye that pops out

    by robertdee

    in that trailer too. Shouldn't those with monocular vision be equally annoyed? I mean, the fact its a 3D film seems to be rubbing it in somewhat.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST

    I'd say from the trailer

    by J.B.M.A.

    that it's a running gag that the pirates keep attacking 'unsuitable' ships. I doubt the leprosy boat was anything other than a few quick gags, so it won't be missed. When you consider how long it takes to animate stop motion work can you really see Aardmen folding so easily if this had been a 15 minute chunk of the movie?

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Or even *Aardman*

    by J.B.M.A.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Wow you guys are not too bright

    by Anthony Torchia

    If they boarded a boat full of gays with AIDS, do you think that would be funny? The people who wrote the leper scene are morons, the people who like it are morons, the readers who don't get it are morons.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:24 p.m. CST

    What about being sensitive to those who suffer from being scientists?

    by ClayMatthews

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:29 p.m. CST

    It seems to me this would have helped people with leprosy

    by Dreamwriter

    From what I remember in the trailer, the people acted normal, like nothing was wrong with them. They weren't acting like it was something horrible to stay away from. It was like "Oh, my arm fell off, see?" I think those kind of jokes would make them seem more normal to society, not less. It definitely would paint a better picture than the book "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever", a book about a man with leprosy thrust into a fantasy world where his leprosy is cured, but he forces himself to not believe it so he doesn't lose his habits. But that nonbelief leads him to do some pretty horrible acts, because to him it's not real, so has no consequences.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Hey Skippy,

    by nikem3

    So if they boarded a boat with a bunch of obese pirates would you be okay with it? Because they suffer too. Should they cut a scene because leg amputees are upset about one legged jokes? Give me a break, it's a joke, someone almost always gets offended. People need to stop being so sensitive.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    What a bag of BOLLOCKS!!

    by Porrohman

  • Leprosy doesn't make body parts fall off. That's like making a movie where a guy gets aids from a hug. I'm not PC. I think people getting offended is actually ok. But it has to be fair. No way would a joke about cancer or aids be put into a film like this. It shouldnt be ok to make fun of an affliction just because that particular group is small.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Next we'll have pirate advocacy groups protesting the movie entirely.

    by Royston Lodge

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Breaking news.

    by nikem3

    Somali pirates very upset at their portrayl of pirates in this movie.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Even Lepers Have A Lobby?

    by Crow3711

    Are you serious? You can't even make fun of fucking lepers anymore? The world is going to crumble under the weight of its own red tape soon.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 12:55 p.m. CST

    The ILEP - Giving Leper's a hand... and Aardmann the finger.

    by impossibledreamers

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:09 p.m. CST

    This film looks godawful...

    by performingmonkey

    How did this make it into production?? Why aren't Aardman doing the Tortoise & Hare movie instead? Forgive me if they are working on that too... but this Pirates movie looks beyond shit. It just makes me want more POTC. Or Wallace & Gromit!

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Apparently the lepers were all set to sue ...

    by Number_Six

    ... but it would have cost them an arm and a leg ... ;)

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Look, the only reason there aren't more jokes about cancer or AIDS

    by Brian Hopper

    We gots to give him the AIDS.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Looks like ...

    by Number_Six

    ... the lepers f*cked Aardman ... but at least they left a tip!! ;)

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST

    hmm, that post got butchered thanks AICN...

    by Brian Hopper

    We gots to give him the AIDS.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST

    hmm... can't use quotes now?

    by Brian Hopper

    Look, the only reason there aren't more jokes about cancer or especially AIDS is there are well-organized groups with an agenda who will pounce if you make those jokes. (Who knew lepers were so well-organized?!) If you're a producer, who needs the headache? That's why guys like Matt Stone and Trey Parker are (occasionally) so brave. They know the truth: nothing is off limits. Nothing. We gots to give him the AIDS.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    What do you get when a leper takes a bath? Soup.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Sorry, it's what do you call a leper taking a bath? Stu.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Did you hear about the leper who ran into a screen door?

    by Tikidonkeypunch

    He strained himself.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    How do you get 47 lepers in a Volkswagon? Use a Blender.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    How do you get them out? Use Doritos.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Whats the difference between a leper and a tree? A tree has limbs.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Good job, Aardman. Good, fucking job.

    by Baked

    What? Somebody here has to be a normal human being and not a soulless maladapted basement-dwelling toolbag.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Science bitches. Lepers can be treated

    by DOGSOUP

    If you're in a place that can't afford MDT then you won't have a movie theater playing a little claymation movie. Jesus christ this is the most fucking asinine thing to take arms over.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 2:48 p.m. CST

    But they're lepers for fucks sake!

    by D.Vader

    They're SUPPOSED to be avoided. I'm going to make a movie about an entire leper colony. See how they like that.

  • Those afflicted with it are now suing surviving members of Monty Python and demand all copies of Black Death be removed from store shelves.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    I didn't even know leprosy was still around

    by Jaster Mareel

    Didn't Jesus cure that shit?

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 3:13 p.m. CST


    by Dead_Geek

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Why was the leper unable to talk? Cat had his tongue.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 3:37 p.m. CST


    by Player01

    ... where is headache man when you need him. I hear Jesus also made the dinosaurs live nicely with people who ate them, which is why we don't have dinosaurs anymore. Or was that because they didn't fit in the ark. Or was it....

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    I'm offended.

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    I'm offended Aardman caved in over such a ridiculous thing and swapped out a joke that was actually quite funny. The leprosy advocates group are missing a very important point. People with more than two brain cells already know leprosy doesn't do that, and that it's very different in general than how it's always been portrayed in tv and film. The people who don't know that won't get fucking educated due to a dumb joke being pulled from a movie. If we can't laugh at ourselves, what can we do.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 4:33 p.m. CST

    as a scientist I am OUTRAGED

    by coz

    It's bad enough we have to put up with the constant belittling of our work from people who don't understand it, now to be openly ridiculed in pop culture? Has the world slid so far down the slope of ignorance? :P p.s., fuck the lepers on second thought, don't

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 6:03 p.m. CST

    What's worse is that Stephen Fry was having a hissy fit over it too.

    by loafroaster

    Like Blackadder never existed.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Oh please do fuck off

    by Jaka

    I saw the Leprosy trailer in front of We Bought a Zoo and that shit was funny. It was one of only a couple places where the entire theater laughed. Bullshit on Ardman for changing it.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 6:42 p.m. CST

    I Laughed so hard...

    by Captain ass fell off. Seriously, it fell off.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST


    by Kelly Grimes

    I'm not right wing.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Hey nikem3

    by Anthony Torchia

    How about a ship filled with aborted fetuses? You didn't answer my AIDS question, so I assume you are stupid enough to think that is actually funny. That was my original point.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 8:05 p.m. CST

    additionally ...

    by Anthony Torchia

    if you don't see the difference between poking fun at a disability and laughing at people with a terminal disease, you really should consider having a vasectomy.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Time to remake Ben-Hur

    by Sir Loin

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST


    by nikem3

    Yeah, absolutely right. Making fun of people with disability is much better. You laugh at offensive things every day. Would a boat full of aborted fetuses be funny? Probably not. Oh and by the way, why does it have to be gay people with aids? Are you stereotyping? Look at you being offensive. Regardless, the lepers scene from what I saw wasn't funny anyways. But do I find offensive things funny? Of course. South Park makes fun of things all the time and has intelligent points behind stupid comedy.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Yepper Leper!

    by maxjohnson1971

    They ARE still around. There is an active leper colony in Louisiana still. It is located in Carville I believe. My mom was a nurse there for a bit. Thankfully, nothing was ever brought home with her. That would have broken me up and I'd have fallen to pieces if that had been the case!

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 8:59 p.m. CST

    They didn't have a leg to stand on.

    by The_Dark_Shite

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:37 p.m. CST

    wallace and grommet and the lepers

    by jimmy

    I say....."keep the jokes in!". Fucking winey ass lepers

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:37 p.m. CST

    As a pirate myself

    by pishowda

    I would like this film to be called "SEAMEN"

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:41 p.m. CST

    I also find offensive things funny ...

    by Anthony Torchia

    but terminal diseases are not funny aborted fetuses are not funny Gays or straights with AIDS has nothing to do with it, terminal diseases are NOT FUNNY Sorry, only immature dickheads think laughing at a horribly disfigured dying person is okay Don't feel bad, in my own way I can be a dickhead too, but your opinion is total crap, sorry.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:43 p.m. CST

    the horribly disfigured

    by pishowda

    18th century claymation pirate. I'd be offended too

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:47 p.m. CST

    but wait, that movie 50/50 was about cancer ...

    by Anthony Torchia

    Yes, and the guy with the terminal disease was the HERO, not the subject of ridicule Are we getting it yet?

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Boo Hoo... so you've been deprived a couple of leper jokes.

    by Happyfat73

    It's not censorship. It's not PC... it's just a family-oriented prod co showing a modicum of sensitivity. It's fine for someone like the South Park guys to poke fun in this area - they take the piss out of everyone, and it's their M.O. However, Aardman make family films, which means they're not in the business of marginalising diseased people, and exploiting their suffering for cheap laughs. Leave that to the guys who make that kind of shit their bread and butter. Anyone complaining that this kind of material has been excised from a children's film is, simply, an idiot.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Wow, are you kidding?

    by Durendal

    Really, people in here getting butthurt over leper jokes of all places? Well, you know what? It'd be funny if they were all gay rapists with AIDS. It'd be funny if they all had a highly contagious form of cancer. You know why? THEY'RE JOKES. They're not meant to be taken seriously. If you fucking nancies are going to get asspained over jokes at someone, somewhere's expense then you should get off the fucking internet. Christ.

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Leprosy is not a laughing matter...

    by Chris Moody

    ...but it is pretty funny in the trailer. :-) Seriously, if lepers can't laugh at this, then they have lost more than their flesh. They have lost their sense of humor. :-P

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:37 p.m. CST

    It's all about context, morons.

    by Happyfat73

  • Jan. 24, 2012, 11:40 p.m. CST

    it's all about context, morons.

    by Happyfat73

    This is a family film, aimed at young audiences. Can completely understand why they're not into making fun of diseases and such.</p> </p> And for those of you wishing for gay rapists with AIDS... well, just as well you're not making children's films, I guess.</p> </p> The problem with so many geek fanboys is they forget that they're obsessing over stuff that's made for little kids, and then complain when it's not all dark and shit.

  • RE: skippy, "If they boarded a boat full of gays with AIDS, do you think that would be funny?" shit yeah. that would be fucking hilarious.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 1:50 a.m. CST

    No. It is censorship, even if it's self censorship.

    by Jaka

    And one free thought being removed leads to another, then another, and then you aren't allowed to think at all. This isn't hyperbole and it's not about being "PC". We're rapidly losing the freedom to just be ourselves and people are starting to fall in line, just like big brother wants. Whatever happened to if you don't like it, don't spend your money to see it? Absolutely ridiculous that they would change that scene. I saw it - it was funny. You know why it was funny? Because they made a joke at somebody else's expense. That's what MOST jokes are, and we USED to laugh at them.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 1:51 a.m. CST

    And nobody is a moron for having an opinion

    by Jaka

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 2:44 a.m. CST

    scientists makes more sense anyway

    by mrgray

    If none of you know, this movie is based on a series of books called "The Pirates! In an Adventure With _____" by Gideon Defoe. The blank has been "Scientists" and "Communists" and "Whaling" and "Napoleon" and etc. And those of you pointing to this being a kids' movie, you're technically correct BUT the source material, while not R-rated, is sort of dense for kiddies. The movie will doubtlessly be dumbed down a bit. In any case, no harm in changing that joke to something the Pirates! have actually faced.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 3:04 a.m. CST

    re: "This is a family film, aimed at young audiences."

    by buggerbugger

    You never laughed at leper jokes when you were a kid? You missed out.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Gave 'em a piece of his mind... D'oh!

    by Rowsdower.ZabRowsdower

    Best thing about being a leper is when someone cuts you off on the highway you have no trouble giving him the finger.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 3:09 a.m. CST


    by Rowsdower.ZabRowsdower

    How do you make a sausage? Leper in a windtunnel, sock at the other end. ... They come with their own dipping sauce for bread when they're out at the restaurant. Okay, okay. It's too late and I've had too much to drink. The old Truly Tasteless Jokes jokes are bubbling up to the surface. Couldn't help myself.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 4:27 a.m. CST


    by Wheel99

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 4:28 a.m. CST

    How do you know there is a leper playing hockey?

    by Wheel99

    Because there is a face off at center ice.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 4:28 a.m. CST

    What do you call a fleshy pianist?

    by Wheel99


  • Jan. 25, 2012, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Nope, "self-censorship" is an oxymoron

    by Andrew

    As is "self-deportation", Mitt.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 7:05 a.m. CST

    did the lepers drop..

    by captain_kirk

    their complaints?

  • ...and made changes that only a small group of people were complaining about because you feared mob mentality taking over and damaging your profit margin. It makes perfect sense, so how about you stick to addressing the issue instead of POORLY playing a grammar nazi, a'ight?

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST

    I've been in medicine over 15 years...

    by Happy Killmore

    ...and I've yet to see a single case of leprosy. I also used to practice in Hawaii for years which has the somewhat well-known Leper Colony on Molokai. (Homer Simpson even went to the place once several seasons ago.) Now I practice in Texas where the disease can be transmitted by armadillos and I STILL haven't seen a case. They don't even really call it "leprosy" anymore. It's referred to as "Hansen's disease" in the medical community. The whole thing is just silly.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Not only did I not know lepers still existed, I didn't know

    by durhay

    there were so many leper jokes as well.

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Obviously, the funny bone is the first thing that falls off.

    by Wes_Reviews_

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Lend a hand to a leper...

    by Pixeldriver

    because his fell off.

  • This is PC gone mad. Leper jokes are guaranteed funny, especially in the context of a pirate movie. I've been stricken by a bad case of Nobby Stiles but I still laugh at haemorrhoid-related mirth..!

  • Jan. 25, 2012, 3:34 p.m. CST

    What'd the leper say to the hooker?

    by Mel Garga

    Keep the tip.