Disability advocates are slamming the new film “The Wolf of Wall Street”

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‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Under Fire For ‘R-Word’

By January 14, 2014
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as corrupt-stockbroker Jordan Belfort in Leonardo DiCaprio stars as corrupt-stockbroker Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which is facing criticism from disability advocates. (Courtesy Mary Cybulski/MCT)

Disability advocates are slamming the new film “The Wolf of Wall Street” for using language and references that they say mock those with special needs.

The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy are calling out the Martin Scorsese flick for use of the word “retard” and for describing the main character’s experience while under the influence of Quaaludes as his “cerebral palsy phase.”

“The Wolf of Wall Street’s gratuitous use of an offensive term for people with disabilities, as well as its depiction of cerebral palsy, is outrageous,” said Stephen Bennett, president and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “While we understand that the film’s content is deliberately distasteful and excessive, it does not excuse it.”

The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio is based on the party-hard life of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort who was convicted of fraud and spent 22 months in prison.

DiCaprio won a Golden Globe on Sunday for the portrayal and the movie is expected to be an Oscar contender.

However, the three-hour film has also been criticized for its heavy use of profanity and nudity and for seemingly glorifying the excesses of Wall Street greed.

DiCaprio has defended the depiction, telling Variety, “this film may be misunderstood by some; I hope people understand we’re not condoning this behavior, that we’re indicting it.”

Advocates, however, say that’s not good enough.

“Hollywood just doesn’t seem to get it,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc. “Among moviegoers who have paid to see ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ in recent weeks are people with disabilities, their parents, siblings and friends. It’s time for Hollywood to wake up and see that their customers deserve better.”

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