Topic

entertainment

146 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks 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 the.pub.  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
92 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Electronic Arts, Digital Illusions CE, LucasFilm, Disney

Please finish Star Wars: Battlefront III and release it.

In 2009, Free Radical were working on the long-awaited third installment of the original Star Wars: Battlefront franchise. Unfortunately, several circumstances that are not entirely clear led to the cancellation of the game and the release of a portable-only title called "Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron". For a time after that, LucasArts appear to have been trying to find a way to make this game but were unable to do so before the LucasFilm acquisition by Disney and the closing of LucasArts. Over time, more and more about the game has come to light through various different channels. This includes video footage of an early XBox360 version of the game that was clearly just starting to be put onto the console. Many more people have seen the potential in that early version. According to Free Radical employees, the game was actually much further into development than this, almost being completed by the time the plug was pulled on it. In 2013, Electronic Arts announced "Star Wars Battlefront", a straight up reboot of the franchise. The game proved divisive among an older generation of Star Wars Battlefront fans who were asking for a more 'authentic' Star Wars Battlefront experience. This is not to say the game was bad, but there is still clearly a taste for what came before. The game was to provide not only an online experience but an expansive single player experience which included classic modes such as Instant Action and Galactic Conquest, as well as new modes such as Challenges. And in 2017, "Star Wars Battlefront II" came out. The less said about that game, the better. And this brings me to the point of this petition. We know that Electronic Arts and Digital Illusions CE have access to everything from the LucasArts archives. This will include the last build of Star Wars: Battlefront III. What we are asking is that you finish this game as one last round for the old Battlefront. Another idea would be to release this game on the Nintendo Switch, and maybe on PlayStation Vita. This would be an excellent test to gague interest for Star Wars games on Nintendo consoles and on the PS Vita, as there has been no Star Wars game released on a Nintendo console since The Force Unleashed II on Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS (not counting Disney Infinity), and no Star Wars game on a PlayStation handheld since Elite Squadron. This would have several benefits: if EA is worried that such a release might compete with their mainstay Battlefront series, a hand-held/Switch-exclusive release would dispel those concerns while also providing a ready-made platform to gague interest in further Switch/handheld iterations of Star Wars games. It doesn't even need to bear the title "Star Wars: Battlefront III" - you could easily call it something like "Star Wars Battlefront Legends", indicating the "Legends" nature of the game. Please consider this: I believe that if this was successfully pulled off, then it would earn the trust of a great many of the people who were bitter over the new game. On top of this, I do believe it would make a lot of money for Electronic Arts, as this would surely sell very well.

Gareth Thomas
8,485 supporters