Netflix’s ‘The After Party’ Under Fire for Mocking Epileptics
A seemingly harmless coming-of-age story pokes fun at those who suffer from the seizure disorder.
Netflix’s recent original film “The After Party” depicts an up and coming young rapper dealing with the obstacle of a career-ruining viral video.
The video shows the protagonist vomiting and then having a seizure on stage, falling and writhing on the ground. He is dubbed “Seizure Boy,” resulting in people posting videos and photos of them reenacting the moment with the hashtag “#SEEZJAHBOY.”
The movie, released on August 24, was met with concerns and complaints by members of the epilepsy community and a statement by the President and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, Philip Gattone.
“Making fun of someone having a seizure is bullying at its worst. When such responses are portrayed as acceptable behavior – even in movies – it is demeaning and hurtful to our epilepsy community and all of us,” the statement reads. “If someone is ridiculed for a medical problem, such as seizures, they are more likely to hide their illness and less likely to seek medical care or the help of others.”
Gattone states that while correct representations of seizures and how to handle them are welcome ways to educate the general public, the portrayal in the film “only adds to the ignorance, misunderstanding and fear that exist about seizures.”
With Netflix’s recent success with its original films, the portrayal in “The After Party” is surprising.
Wayne Drash, CNN Enterprise Writer and the father of a 14-year-old epileptic son, slammed the film this week.
“The film treats seizures like the dab. Like the Electric Slide,” Drash says.
Both Gattone and Drash reached out to Netflix, expecting an explanation, an apology, or an offer to provide an educational screen including seizure recognition and first aid. Both say that have not received a response from the company.
“The After Party” stars west coast rapper KYLE with cameo appearances by various big name hip-hop artists such as French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, and Desiigner.
Despite the backlash, the film has a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
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