ITAE Productions’ show Dinner and Dissection, due to come to Newcastle in October will showcase the dissection of a body mimicking Joseph Merrick, sadly known as "The Elephant Man", in front of hundreds of onlookers, eating and drinking, in a circus tent.
Joseph Merrick is suspected to have had a series of mosaic genetic mutations. In his case proteus syndrome seemed the right diagnosis and suffered throughout his life being the centre of freak shows, which this event, “Dinner and Dissection” intends to exploit for profit. These incurable mutations are still around, my own 2 year old daughter Willow has pik3ca related overgrowth syndrome.
We (meaning people diagnosed and parents of those diagnosed with mosaic mutations) have started this petition to stop this show going ahead and have ITAE Productions and Dragons Den, who invested in “Dinner and Dissection”, held accountable for the shaming of people with disabilities, creating a modern day freak show.
It is despicable to think in 2021 we still think it is ok to exploit people with disabilities in such a way. The thought of my daughter growing up and knowing that people dined and drank while enjoying watching that in a circus tent breaks my heart.
Disabilities should not be exploited for income. They should be welcomed in modern day society and awareness should be made in a positive and dignified manner.
We are all for raising awareness but to do this in a circus tent while people eat and drink is utterly absolutely disgusting. ITAE productions should be ashamed of themselves. What happened to Joseph was sad and how he was exploited was heartbreaking, the fact you are bringing this barbaric show back is downright disgusting.
Teach students about the syndrome in a university setting not a circus.
Better yet, how about asking for people living with the condition to share their experiences? For insight of how difficult it is to live with a visible physical disability like overgrowth, it is hard. Sign this petition to help stop the Dinner and Dissection event and the exploitation of people with disabilities.