Nyle DiMarco Calls Out 'Sierra Burgess Is A Loser' For Being Offensive To Deaf People
10 September 2018, 17:38 | Updated: 10 September 2018, 17:47
This could have so easily been avoided...
The hype for Sierra Burgess Is a Loser was unreal. From the cast to the trailer, it looked like it had all of the makings of a new high school classic. The premise - a coming of age tale in which an unpopular girl Sierra, Shannon Purser) and a popular girl (Veronica, Kristen Froseth) join forces to win over the boys they love - is the stuff of rom-com dreams. Oh and it stars Noah Centineo as Sierra's love interest Jamey.
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However, ever since the film came out on Netflix last Friday, it's received various forms of backlash. First things first viewers weren't sure what to make of a love story that essentially revolves around catfishing (Sierra pretends to be Veronica in a bid to woo Jamey). Then there's the fact that the film contains transphobic and homophobic jokes. And now it's coming under fire for its treatment of deaf people.
In the new teen drama, Noah's character Jamey has a deaf brother (Ty). Ty is played by brilliant deaf actor Cochise Zornoza and, at first, this seems like a pretty inspired casting choice. Deaf people are still rarely portrayed on screen, so this kind of representation is super important. However, in the film, Ty is used as part of a joke and people are not impressed.
Early on in the movie Jamey asks Veronica for her number but she gives him Sierra's instead. Then when Jamey texts Sierra, Sierra pretends to be Veronica in an attempt to start a relationship with Jamey. Later Sierra bumps into Jamey in person and, as an attempt to avoid exposing herself, she pretends to be deaf. To make things even worse Ty is there.
Not only that but Sierra is never even called out in the film for how offensive this behaviour is.
With that in mind, it's more than understandable that people are taking issue with the film.
Famous deaf model Nyle DiMarco took to Twitter to slate the movie in a thread.
There were homophobic and transphobic jokes as well.— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) September 9, 2018
And honestly you shouldn’t make these jokes AT ALL because our lives are on the line.— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) September 9, 2018
None of this is acceptable.
And Nyle isn't the only one who is disappointed.
i’m really disappointed in sierra burgess is a loser. playing deaf is extremely disrespectful , and the film’s glamorization of it makes me sick. imagine being a deaf & finally seeing someone who knows your language,, just for them to sign “shit pizza” then give you a fist bump.— isa (@smileyspideys) September 8, 2018
What were the filmmakers thinking?
This kind of plot device can be so harmful.
#SierraBurgessIsALoser has a character pretending to be deaf. This is ableist and incredibly harmful. Deaf/disabled people often face the stereotype that they must be faking it. To use this in a movie is disgusting, hurtful and harmful.— Raz (@warlockraz) September 7, 2018
Deaf people deserve better representation.
Plus it's not the only thing that Sierra does wrong without consequences.
things sierra burgess is a loser does that are damaging and dangerous:— 𝑒𝓂𝒾𝓁𝓎 (@emxlydxwd) September 8, 2018
- disrespects deaf people
- teaches girls it’s okay to kiss a boy without his consent
- romanticises lying to someone about your identity
- suggests apologies aren’t necessary for doing all of the above + more
She is problematic in many ways.
All of this makes it hard to sympathise with Sierra as a character.
sierra burgess really IS a fucking loser. homegirl pretended to be deaf for her own gain, humiliated veronica just bcs her dumbass didnt remember their plan, and catfished an innocent dude. am i supposed to pity her— shai stark (@quill_rocket) September 9, 2018
Why is she not forced to confront her wrongdoings?
The more I think about Sierra Burgess is Loser,the angrier I get. How did everybody forgive her so easily? She lied, she pretended to be deaf (IN FRONT OF AN ACTUAL DEAF KID), she cyberbullied HER FRIEND and she never even apologized. She just wrote a song about not being pretty.— selene. (@shutupmeerlin) September 7, 2018
This could have been handled so much better.
Ultimately fans think that this, along with a couple of other odd plot choices, ruin an otherwise good film.
#SierraBurgessIsALoser It was cool until she faked being deaf, she kissed him without him actually knowing it was her, then humiliated her friend, and at the end of the day she got everything she wanted? Y’all could have gone a whole different route— Bangtanbros7 💜 (@Bangtanbros7) September 8, 2018
The acting and soundtrack were all on point but these things were not.
As it stands the actors and those behind the film are yet to respond to the backlash.
We shall keep you informed with any updates.