Model Calls Out Netflix’s ‘Sierra Burgess Is A Loser’ For Tasteless Joke About Being Deaf

As many people have heard, Netflix’s new movie Sierra Burgess Is A Loser has been getting some negative feedback from a lot of viewers. The movie, which focuses on Shannon Purser’s character–AKA Barbs from Stranger Thingsand her journey into catfishing a fellow peer and tricking him into kissing someone he had no idea he was going to kiss has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
For one, it paints the picture for young women that only beautiful and popular girls can get guys–when the main character uses the “popular girl in school” to catfish her crush. It also promotes the idea that catfishing is okay, or acceptable, in any shape or form. Aside from the movie’s dozens of plotlines that are pretty terrible, one model is calling the film out for a pretty rude and tasteless joke about deaf people.

Nyle DiMarco, who happens to be deaf, recently pointed out on Twitter that he was disturbed by a specific part of the film. DiMarco said he had heard that one of his close friends’ deaf brother was in the movie, and was excited to have “more deaf actors/representation and American Sign Language in movies.” However, he was deeply unhappy when he saw that the character was used only for a tasteless joke.

In the movie, Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) is trying to get the attention of Jamey (Noah Centineo) by tricking him into believing she is really Veronica (Kristine Froseth). Jamey had once asked Veronica for her number at a restaurant and instead of giving it to him, gave him Sierra’s number instead, because she was uninterested.

Sierra, excited to see that Jamey was texting her, pretends to be Veronica when texting. Their intimate conversations turn into phone calls, and Sierra totally is head over heels in love with Jamey. When the two see each other doing community service at the park, Sierra’s friend Dan (RJ Cyler) tries to get her to come clean of her lie. Sierra panics knowing that Jamey would recognize her voice and everything would blow up in her face and instead pretends to be deaf.

As it turns out, Jamey is fluent in American Sign Language and is with his good friend, Ty, who is deaf (DiMarco’s friends’ brother). Sierra realizes she’s completely screwed after Ty was eager to speak to her in ASL, so she “fist bumps” to get out of the awkward conversation.

It’s clear to see where DiMarco’s frustration is coming from, as many times deaf individuals are not included in film plots, and when they are it seems to be for joking purposes. He additionally pointed out that there were other jokes made that were terrible.

Others on Twitter completely agreed with his frustration.

If you’re going to include people in your movies, TV shows, or even web series–please make their representation matter.