National Alliance on Mental Illness
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StigmaBusting Network and Alerts


NAMI Campaign to End Discrimination
August 31, 1999.

Contact Information:

Ms. Stella March

First, we want to thank each of your for your great letters to Nestle USA which expressed so well the offensive, stigmatizing nature of the names on their Tasty Tangy Taffy Bar. Many who sent a message by email received the same lame, unacceptable response from Nestle Customer Relations. I suggest you send a hard copy of your letter by U.S. mail to Mr. Joseph Weller, 800 North Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203. Write across the top of the letter your special request that he reads the letters to understand its human content before sending a reponse that clearly ignores the basic message of the hurtful and humiliating effect of these stigma fueling names attached to comic face caricatures. Let's keep those letters coming until Nestle changes it response.

We have also received your messages about the new NBC series starting this fall, "Stark Raving Mad". I have spoken directly to the executive producer and developer of the series who dictated the following:

"Stark Raving Mad" will in no way portray mentally ill characters in a negative light. In fact, our lead characters are not mentally ill, but are merely eccentric. Any portrayals of their eccentricities are not reflections of any mental illness. We will be sensitive to the feelings of persons with mental illness and their families. I am sure you will recognize this when you see the actual series.

I described our concerns (he did listen) and he again stated that this series had nothing to do with mental illness. No characters with mental illness are involved. Obviously, we will be watching.

We have already received some inquiries about the new Jim Carrey film "Me Myself and Irene". The producers, the Farrelly Brothers (good friends of Jim Carrey), are truly over the edge in their films. NAMI does not believe it is worth our time, resources and effort to deal with them, as in no way will they stop production on this film. We hope, as has happened with other such films like the remake of "Psycho," they will fade out at the box office.

Toasts: Based on reports about the excellent description of the homeless man with mental illness on the soap opera "The Bold and The Beautiful," we toasted the producer, who phoned in the following message:

Thank you so much for writing ... the story will continue the week of, I think is September 20th. If you want to keep-up with it that should be an interesting week to watch. We will see George return in a very interesting way.

The CBS series "Becker" featuring Ted Danson as the title character also received a Toast.In the episode, "Larry Speaks" Dr. Becker immediately recognizes a person accurately portrayed with mental illness, who is hallucinating conversations with God, and refers him to a psychiatrist. The hallucinations disappear when Larry takes his medication, but re-appears when he stops.

Roasts: We have sent letters to other perpetrators of stigma, but await a response. This has been the summer holiday season and we hope to receive responses after Labor Day.

Thanks for your information about stigma producing situations and for your support of NAMI Stigma Busters. We will keep you informed.

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We look forward to hearing from you!