144 petitions

Update posted 13 hours ago

Petition to BBC Director General

Stammering is not funny

The mimicking of stammering in the BBC sit-com "Still Open All Hours" is offensive and misleading   I am not against stammering or any other disability being used in fiction in the correct context.  On the contrary, it can raise awareness.  However, it is wrong to use what is at best an impediment, at worst a disability, purely to make people laugh, as it is any disability. I complained to the BBC complaints department and ultimately to Ofcom and - as I expected - my appeal was not upheld.  However, there were a number of questions I asked that did not get answered, For example, does the BBC consider it acceptable for disabilities to be used purely to make people laugh?  I also used examples of the mimicking of other disabilities asking if they would be considered acceptable.  As they did not answer, I told them  I took it as a "no." and suggested the reality is that it would not be dared to be done because of the outcry there would be. Others who stammer and those close to them know what a distressing thing stammering is for many and the devastating effect it can have on your life, affecting such things as career prospects, social life and even relationships.  It caused one person to commit suicide.  The British Stammering Association gets phone calls from many in distress, including mothers' of children who stammer in tears because they feel they are to blame for their child's condition. Most importantly, with regard how stammering is portrayed in the sit-com is the fact that because of widespread public ignorance about stammering, many see it as funny so people who stammer get made fun of and in particular children get bullied. The sit-com is confirming that misguided perception. The BBC's defence was that the mimicking of the stammering by the character Granville of the character Arkwright, from the original series, "Open All Hours," is not making fun but a sign of affection as they were close.  Any decent person who was that close to someone who stammered would not do it because they would realise the distress it caused.  The reality is that it is being included to make people laugh -  at a disability!.  The BBC also argued that it is not Arkwright who is being made fun of but the other characters as Arkwright is putting one over on them.  Again, the fact is it is to make people laugh and in that context it is sending the false message that stammering is nothing. That type of mimicking is just the sort of thing a child who stammers might be getting at school, which would be extremely distressing for him/her.  Indeed, one person who wrote in the British Stammering Association's magazine explained that as a teenager he found the original "Open All Hours" too distressing to watch.  Also, putting across stammering as funny is going to encourage bullies.  Of course not all children and teenagers are bullies and some as a result of watching might in innocence interpret stammering as funny, thus try to joke with a child or teenager who stammers meaning no harm but causing distress, which is unfair on both.  The BBC's abysmal response was that they could not agree because it is not a children's programme.  The fact is that it is a family type programme on before the watershed and the BBC confirmed viewer figures indicate some children and teenagers watch it.  It would particularly have the wrong effect if they are watching with their parents, also laughing at stammering. The BBC's general justification was that the sit-com is not satirising stammering but merely continuing on from the popular original series.  I did not complain about the original, "Open All Hours" because I am not normally a great comedy viewer so was not aware of it until watching it by chance ironically shortly before the late Ronnie Barker passed away.  However, having seen it I made a point of watching "Still Open All Hours," to see if the stammering continued.  Yes, the stammering in the original series was wrong for basically all the same reasons. I feel strongly about this not just because I stammer myself but because I run a support group and I see people in all sorts of difficulties because of stammering, from not being able to form relationships, being held back in their careers, including through prejudice, lacking a social life and girlfriends/boyfriends because of fears of how people will react to them, and doing everyday things like talking to bank staff, solicitors, making public transport enquiries, avoiding phone calls, even buying a round at  I also have dealings with the Dominic Barker Trust, a charity set up by the parents of Dominic Barker, who committed suicide at the age of 26 because of his stammer. I hope you will sign the petition        

John Thompson
86 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to LucasFilm

Lucasfilm: Revoke EA's Star Wars License

EA have had the Star Wars video game license for the last 4 years, and in that time they've proven to their consumers that they honestly don't care about the gameplay experience or content, they'd rather rush out a game that will try and milk as much money out of consumers as possible. Let's start with Star Wars Battlefront (2015), the game launched with barely any content whatsoever. If I remember correctly there were 5 multiplayer maps and 4 game modes, and that was it. This wouldn't have been a problem if the game was free to play, but it wasn't - EA were charging $60 for an unfinished, sloppy excuse of a video game that almost undoubtedly hurt the Star Wars franchise. The community died out very quickly due to the awful gameplay experience and lack of content, and just to make things worse - EA did what EA always does, tried to milk even more money out of its customers! They released a $50 season pass that actually included MORE content than the original game had! So to get the 'actual experience' you had to spend $110. This was a disgraceful practice at the time and still is to this day. In 2016 we found out Visceral Games were working on a linear single player Star Wars game, this had a lot of people excited. At E3 2017 we got our first look at this game and again, people were excited. In October 2017 we found out that EA had cancelled this game and that Visceral Games were shutting down. EA told us that the reason the game was cancelled was because 'people didn't want a linear single player experience set in the Star Wars universe, they wanted something else that would allow the player to come back regulalary' - which is just nonsense. Pretty much the whole fanbase were excited for a new single player Star Wars story, however it became quite obvious very quickly why this game was cancelled. They would've struggled at monetizing a single player game, they've tried before and it didn't work because consumers are sick of getting ripped off and having to buy more content after spending $60 on a game. EA seem to think if they make something on a broader scale that has an online component then people will buy in-game content to stay relevant in the game, which again is so morally wrong and just shows how out of touch EA are with it's consumers. Then again, they don't care about their consumers, they only care about the money they can make from them. Yet again another event that will do more harm to the Star Wars brand than good. And finally this brings me to Star Wars Battlefront 2 which releases tomorrow however some people have had early access since last week. To sum up the game in general, it's bad - actually no wait that's too generous - it's awful. EA has yet again pulled another anti-consumer move and shoved in infamous and unwanted loot boxes into the game, something nobody asked for. These loot boxes were very controversial during the Star Wars Battlefront 2 beta when people noticed that these loot boxes were giving people a huge advantage over other players who didn't purchase them, and since they could be paid for with real money (in the full game not the beta) it essentially made the game pay-to-win which is unacceptable in any video game regardless of the price or content, yet EA had the cheek to do this in a $60 video game. This causes a major backlash online which had such a strong effect that EA even had to comment on the matter saying they would 'rework and revise the system', and now we know that statement was a complete and utter lie.  We now know that the entire online aspect of Star Wars Battlefront 2 was literally built around microtransactions to try and squeeze every single dollar out of the consumer as they could. Let's start with the Star cards, these cards allow you to add upgrades to your character, such as extra health or quicker reload. This would cause a problem in any game as it can make the game unbalanced, however instead of allowing the user to choose what upgrades they want, the user has to unlock these star cards instead! And how does the user unlock these star cards? You guessed it - loot boxes! So yet again when someone pays real world money on loot boxes they can easily have an unfair advantage over players who are unlocking these loot boxes through in-game rewards - essentially making it pay to win. And this has 100% been noticeable while playing online, the game hasn't even fully released yet and people have an unfair advantage over others and it's very noticeable and makes the game so unbalanced that I've already given up on it. It's not just me who's noticed either, all you have to do is search online to see almost everyone who's played it is saying the same thing. The community on this game will die out faster than the original game because of this, people won't buy your stupid loot boxes EA, instead they'll sell the game and buy something else.  The star cards aren't even the worse thing, in Star Wars Battlefront 2 there are special characters you can use once you've earned enough score in game, however not all of them are unlocked. In fact the most common and most loved (debatable) characters are actually locked and need unlocking to use. So how do you unlock them? Does ranking up unlock them? Of course it doesn't, and you wanna know why? Because EA can't monetise the consumer that way. More evidence that EA clearly doesn't care about the consumer and would rather just focus on the money they could try and milk from them. So how do you unlock these characters then? Through an in-game currency known as credits which - you guessed it - can be brought with real-world money! So yet again you can use real money to gain an advantage over other players, yet again making it pay-to-win. But what if you want to unlock these characters through the in-game currency without using real money? Well on average to get enough credits it'll take you a whopping 40 hours - that's not a mistake - 40 hours to unlock ONE character. Just one. So let's be real here, if you want to play as your favourite character then you've either gotta get lucky in a loot box (which you can pay for with real money) or buy credits with real money.  And finally, the week reviewers got their hands on the game to review EA done one of the most scummiest things a game publisher could ever do, they tweaked their in game system to make it seem easier to unlock items in the game without the use of real world money so that journalists wouldn't complain about the awful monetization system the game is built on. You want an example of this? Well Luke Skywalker was 10,000 credits to unlock during this time period, which would take about 6-7 in-game hours to unlock. But when the game actually releases, he will be 60,000 credits which can take up to 40 hours to unlock! And like I said before, they did this to try and make sure journalists wouldn't slate their awful monetization system, they themselves even know it's awful yet they simply don't care because they don't care about their consumers - they only care about the money they can make from them. All of this is starting to have a major backlash on EA in general, with hundreds of thousands now committing to cancel preorders and boycott the game and future games completely. EA made a reddit post answering concerns of the fan base and I can proudly say that in less than 24 hours of that post going live that it is now the most disliked post in the entirety of Reddit, with a whopping 230 thousand downvotes. This seriously shouldn't be surprising from the company that has won worst company in America for two years in a row. Lucasfilm, if you cannot see that EA is seriously  abusing and harming the Star Wars brand then you are part of the problem. The longer you keep partnering and working with EA then the more damaging your famous brand will become. Do the right thing, do it for your consumers - end this nonsense once and for all and give the Star Wars License to a developer or publisher who will actually treat the franchise with care and quality, because if the last 4 years are anything to go by then it's pretty clear that EA doesn't care about either of those things...

John Hunt
166,493 supporters