Has anyone noticed an increase in the number of media and entertainment personalities making fun of people who live with food allergies? We have.
The latest incident involves Ricky Gervais on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Mr. Gervais openly mocked the significance of food allergies in the lives of millions of Americans. Jimmy Fallon simply laughed along.
In the segment, Mr. Gervais described someone experiencing a severe allergic reaction to nuts on a plane by saying they would “blow up like a big frog.” His callous joke was pointed and hurtful, particularly given the reality of anaphylaxis, or a severe allergic reaction.
Trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, vomiting and even death can occur. Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment with an epinephrine auto-injector and a visit to the nearest emergency room. There are very few emergency rooms at 32,000 feet.
His "joke" about trying to create anaphylaxis on board an airplane by rubbing nuts all over his body was particularly shocking and frightening. Meanwhile, Mr. Fallon did nothing but play along. He should have come back with a few facts about the growing food allergy problem across America.
We just wrote NBC News about an incident on “The Today Show." Now, we have reached out to Lorne Michaels, who is the executive producer of Mr. Fallon's show. Find a copy of the letter sent to Mr. Michaels here.
We will stay vigilant and aggressive in addressing all forms of bullying of the food allergy community.
You can also communicate with NBC by completing their online “Contact Us” form, or by writing a letter to Mr. Lorne Michaels, Executive Producer, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.