Albinism group concerned about "Da Vinci Code"--Press release
In January 2005, the albinism advocacy group, NOAH, sent the following press release:
The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation
PO Box 959, East Hampstead, NH 03826-0959
Phone: 800 473-2310
For immediate release
Contact: NOAH
800 473-2310
or Dr. Vail Reese
415 362-2238
"Evil Albino" missing from 2004 movies.
Will 'The Da Vinci Code' revive the cliché?
East Hampstead, NH January 6, 2005 -- The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) celebrates 2004 as the first year in more than two decades that a major motion picture did not include an albino villain. But the organization looks ahead with concern to 2005 as director Ron Howard and Imagine Entertainment begin work on the movie version of the best-selling fictional novel 'The Da Vinci Code.'
NOAH has written and called Imagine Entertainment several times beginning in February 2004 to express concerns about Silas, a murderous monk depicted in the novel as an albino. So far Imagine has not acknowledged NOAH' s concern nor made any comment about how they plan to depict Silas. "Ron Howard and Imagine can make a big difference for people with albinism by continuing the trend away from a hack device if they adjust the Silas character to not be an evil albino" said Mike McGowan, NOAH president. "Over the years the stereotyping and misinformation foisted on the albinism community by filmmakers who don't take the time to learn the facts about albinism does real harm to real people."
According to a list compiled by UCSF dermatologist Dr. Vail Reese, for his website, 12 motion pictures released in the 1980s featured an evil albino, 20 did so in the 1990s, and 24 after 2000. In 2004 the only person with albinism in a notable film released in the United States was Noi, the hapless adolescent in the Icelandic film, 'Noi Albinoi.'
NOAH is concerned that fictional novels and movies depict people with albinism so inaccurately that the fiction overwhelms reality. "One huge problem with 'The Da Vinci Code' is how Silas is described with red eyes," McGowan said. " That's a myth. Most often in people with albinism the eyes are light blue or even hazel." Though their eyes are a normal color, many with albinism have impaired vision. McGowan points out that it is ironic that movies dating back to 'The Firm,' and 'Lethal Weapon,' have made people with albinism into sharpshooters. NOAH argues that the evil albino is a hackneyed plot device used repeatedly by filmmakers depicting people with albinism as being only wicked. NOAH believes that the absence of positive albino characters in motion pictures contributes to misinformation about the condition and stereotyping and discrimination against people with albinism.
Albinism is an inherited condition that affects about 1 in 17,000 people in the United States. It occurs in all races and ethnic groups. In addition to noticeably reduced pigment in the skin and hair, most people with albinism have uncorrectable low vision because of a problem in the development of the retina. Many people with albinism are considered legally blind. However, with appropriate vision rehabilitation people with albinism hold productive jobs in a wide variety of professions.
In 2003 NOAH publicly raised concerns about the sadistic character Bosie in 'Cold Mountain,' and about the evil white-dreadlocked twins in 'Matrix Reloaded.' However, NOAH has no knowledge that their campaign against the movie evil albino has succeeded, because no moviemakers have said that they changed or omitted characters because of the organization's concern.

More about albinism in movies...


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