Disney Channel pulls 'Jessie' episode after gluten-intolerance jokes spark controversy
"[W]e received your feedback about tonight's 'Jessie' episode which some of you accessed early on Video-on-Demand," the network announced through a Facebook statement posted Friday (May 17). "We are removing this particular episode from our regular programming schedule and will re-evaluate its references to gluten restrictions in the character's diet. Please accept our apologies for the upset this episode caused you and your family."
The episode in question, "Quitting Cold Koala," was set to premiere the same day. It finds Debby Ryan's title character, a nanny, looking after Zuri's gluten-free frenemy Stuart (played by J.J. Totah). After learning of his food restrictions, jokes are made the character's expense, including one in which pancakes are tosses at Stuart while he screams, "Gluten!"
Disney Channel was spurred, in part, by a petition posted on Change.org, which asked the network to "stop using gluten-intolerance as an excuse to bully children with any disease, disorder or disability."