Bristol-based Aardman under fire for "poking fun" at leprosy in new film
Bristol-based animation company Aardman has come under fire for the trailer of its new film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, which critics say "pokes fun" at people with leprosy.
The charity Lepra Health in Action has complained about a scene in the film, due for release in March, which sees an pirate losing an arm aboard a "leper-boat".
Lepra's president Sir Christian Bonington said: "It might make you laugh but leprosy stigma not only hurts, it is still forcing people to live a life on the fringes of society.
"Not only is the dropping off of body parts a total misnomer we have to ask ourselves, as we watch it uncomfortably, is it acceptable for us to be laughing at the millions of people who are disabled by leprosy?"
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Dozens of people turned to Twitter to voice their disdain for a clip using the hashtag #aardman.
Even Stephen Fry joined the debate, tweeting: "Hey! Cheap joke #Aardman, leprosy does not cause your arm to fall off".
A spokesman for Aardman , the company behind Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, said it took the criticism very seriously and was reviewing the matter.
Watch the trailer for The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists