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Film Director Apologizes to Epilepsy Community; Asks Studio to Alter Marketing. Founder Greg Grunberg Calls Off Boycott


LOS ANGELES, September 3, 2011 -- Brett Ratner, director of the upcoming film ‘Tower Heist,’ apologized to the epilepsy community after concerns were raised about offensive jokes in the film's trailer. “I am so sorry you are offended ... I sincerely feel bad,” Ratner wrote to founder Greg Grunberg.  


Ratner has asked Universal Studios to change the movie’s marketing campaign by removing the offensive jokes from planned television spots. 


Grunberg thanked Ratner for the apology, saying kids with epilepsy have a hard enough time in high school without other kids quoting famous actors making fun of their disorder. 


Earlier this week, Grunberg asked for a boycott of the movie. Grunberg said the Universal movie includes some of his favorite actors. He hoped Universal would consider an apology. “Just for them to reach out to the epilepsy community and say, ‘We mean no personal harm to anybody,’ which of course they don’t. They probably just don’t even realize the people they are offending and how this could possibly offend people.”


Today, Grunberg tweeted the following:  “THANKS @BrettRatner for ur SINCERE APOLOGY to the Epilepsy Community! I'm lifting my personal boycott of ur hilarious film #TowerHeist RT”




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Comment by Andrea on September 4, 2011 at 9:01am
I am glad to hear that the director has apologized.  Universal Studios should remove the offensive "jokes".  I am appalled, too, with Eddie Murphy & Ben Stiller who are both fathers.  It is extremely traumatizing to anyone, especially a parent, to watch your child have a seizure and there is nothing you can do to help.  THANK YOU to Grunberg for bringing this to everyone's attention.
Comment by Tim Quinn on September 3, 2011 at 3:36pm
In the end, good will come from this bad. The more people realize that we won't sit back and allow ourselves to be the butt of jokes, the less likely comedians, wrists and directors will think it's funny. This is why we must continue to talk about it.
Comment by Talk About It! on September 3, 2011 at 2:44pm
Brett Ratner was very sincere in his apology. He didn't realize how offensive the comments would be or what impact they might have until we as a community pointed them out. Our goal is to move the needle in a positive direction when it comes to epilepsy awareness -- we are, all of us together. "Tower Heist" is very far along in post-production, due for a November release, so it is not reasonable for us to think significant changes to the movie can be made.  HOWEVER, Ratner contacting Universal on our behalf to make what changes can be done, particularly in marketing efforts, is VERY significant. We thank him for that. And, keep in mind, now a major Hollywood director and a major Hollywood studio are more aware of how these kinds of "jokes" can be very painful and hurtful. We ARE moving the awareness needle by getting more and more people to talk about it. Thank you, everyone, for working together to make this kind of HUGE difference!
Comment by Alyssa Stepp on September 3, 2011 at 2:08pm

Notice the director's choice of words: "I am so sorry you are offended...I sincerely feel bad." rather than something to the effect of "I am so sorry for the insensitive comments..." It doesn't sound like a true apology, more like a "Whoops! I got caught & better make a public apology before a lose a whole bunch of money due to bad publicity."

Comment by Richard Hicks on September 3, 2011 at 1:28pm
and one question, did they take it out of the movie or just the movie trailer?
Comment by Richard Hicks on September 3, 2011 at 1:26pm
Ok its nice the Director said he was sorry...But what about Eddie Murphy , Ben Stiller who read the script and didnt bother to say 'hey this is wrong. i wont say it '

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