Scream Queens fails at depicting character with NF

The Children’s Tumor Foundation is calling for the popular TV show Scream Queens to educate itself about neurofibromatosis, or NF, following a recent episode filled with misinformation. In the episode, the show introduced a character with NF named Tyler. Tyler was depicted as having “bubble-like warts” when in reality some cases of NF can result in benign tumors. Scream Queens also described NF as contagious (it is genetic) and as easily cured by a “CO-2 laser machine” (which does not exist).

The Foundation addressed the producers of Scream Queens in a statement titled, “Regarding This Week’s Episode of ‘Scream Queens.’” They stated that, “While most NF patients do not look like ‘Tyler’ from the TV show, they all share in a common humanity of compassion and understanding, and demonstrate remarkable courage and a positive spirit in the face of adversity… the notion of a quick fix trivializes the very real and very serious need to fund research for treatments and, one day, a cure for the 125,000 people in the United States and nearly 2.5 million people worldwide living with NF.”

The Foundation announced that they have “reached out directly to the show’s producers and asked them to learn the facts about NF, to get to know the NF community and its NF Heroes, and to join us in the fight to end NF.”

Annette Bakker, President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, stated, “Although we hope the producers of the show didn’t mean to hurt the NF community, I am personally hurt and very upset about what I saw on Tuesday night.”

The Foundation defines NF as “a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout the body…a lifelong condition often diagnosed in childhood, and it can affect bones, vision, hearing, and other body systems [and] can also sometimes lead to cancer.” They created the video below to spread awareness of NF and the different ways that individuals experience the disorder.

This video may begin with a commercial which was not chosen by or for the benefit of Rooted in Rights.

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.