Horrible Bosses

Hank Preston in Horrible Bosses is a minor character with a disability, but he’s used to demonstrate the prejudices of one of the titular horrible bosses at the family-owned company where he works with one of the main characters, Kurt. When coked-up slacker Bobby Pellit becomes boss of the company after his father dies, he tells Kurt that he wants to “trim the fat”, by which he means, to fire all the fat people. When Kurt refuses to do that, Bobby Pellit says, “You can fire Professor Xavier.” Kurt asks, “Who are you talking about?” and in the brief pause that ensues, Hank rolls by the office window.

“You mean Hank?”

“Yeah. He fucking creeps me out.” Pellit explains. “Rolling around all day in his special little secret chair. I know he’s up to something.”

Kurt refused to fire anyone, so Pellit gave him an ultimatum: “You either fire the fatty, or you fire the cripple, or I fire all three of you. Do the math: one loses the job, or three people lose their jobs. And tell him to leave his handicapped parking pass here as well.”

Pellit seems to have made good on his very illegal threats, as he’s later seen flaunting a handicapped parking tag (after having an office party complete with strippers and cocaine). Hopefully Hank reported the tag stolen, but with enforcement of handicapped parking spaces so lax, it is unlikely Pellit suffered any legal consequences from the theft by intimidation. Payback is shown to come via karma, when a different horrible boss causes Pellit’s death. The family makes the decision to promote “the next most senior person” to the top spot in the company. It isn’t Kurt, but it’s implied that it’s Hank when he rolls by.

Though it’s the first time we’ve heard of “Professor X” being used as an epithet, all in all it was a surprisingly positive portrayal of a person with a disability in an otherwise crass and lackluster film. Even better, Hank is played by genuinely disabled actor Scott Rosendall. Scott self-identifies as a PWD (Person With a Disability or Person With Disabilities) on his resume and lists wheelchair, walker and cane use (though he appears to be standing in some of the pictures on his web site). We hope to see Scott, and others like him, more often in the movies!


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