Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice-Chairman assures that discriminatory scenes about leprosy have been cut from forthcoming animated movie

On January 18, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination and Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of Persons Affected by Leprosy Yohei Sasakawa sent letters of protest to Sony Pictures Animation (headquarters: United States) and Aardman Animations Ltd. (headquarters: United Kingdom) concerning scenes and terminology that discriminated against people affected by leprosy in a trailer for the forthcoming animated movie The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In his letter, he asked that the scenes be amended or cut from the film. In a letter dated February 3 (see attached sheet), Jeff Blake, the Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the parent company of Sony Pictures Animation, assured Sasakawa that Aardman Pictures has stated the scenes will not be in the film when it is released. In the trailer, a pirate captain boards a boat demanding gold. “Afraid we don’t have any gold, old man, this is a leper-boat,” a crew member replies. “See,” he says as his arm falls off. Sasakawa sought to have the scene amended or deleted on the grounds that the term “leper” is recognized as discriminatory in Principles and Guidelines accompanying a unanimously approved 2010 UN General Assembly Resolution on Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy and Their Family Members, and its use rejected. Furthermore, showing an arm falling off someone with leprosy is an inaccurate representation of the disease, contributing to misunderstanding and fostering discrimination.


Public Relations The Nippon Foundation
1-2-2 Akasaka Minatoku Tokyo Japan