‘Tower Heist’ director apologizes for epilepsy joke

Director Brett Ratner has apologized for a joke about epilepsy that was featured in the trailer for his upcoming flick, “Tower Heist.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the mea culpa was instigated by actor Greg Grunberg, whose teenage son has epilepsy.

Former “Heroes” star Grunberg called for a boycott of the Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy film last week after seeing the trailer, which has Murphy’s character making fun of Stiller’s character over his childhood illness. He calls Stiller’s character “little seizure boy” twice.

Naturally, Grunberg let his 1.4 million Twitter followers know about the scene: “TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE TRAILER for #TowerHeist – Making fun @ people w/ seizures is NOT FUNNY & WRONG! “Seizure Boy!” REALLY? #Boycott RT,” he tweeted.

“The movie is filled with all of my favorite actors,” Grunberg told ABC News Radio. “It’s a funny concept for a movie, [but the joke is] irresponsible, ignorant and not funny.”

Ratner was listening; Grunberg’s epilepsy awareness organization TalkAboutIt.org posted on its website over the weekend that the director has apologized.

“I am so sorry you are offended. … I sincerely feel bad,” Ratner wrote to the actor.

The organization also notes that Ratner has asked Universal Studios to pull the offensive jokes from planned television spots.

According to Twitter, Ratner has smoothed things over with Grunberg: “THANKS @BrettRatner for ur SINCERE APOLOGY to the Epilepsy Community! I’m lifting my personal boycott of ur hilarious film #TowerHeist RT,” he wrote.

But Grunberg hopes Universal will get on board the apology train.

“Just for them to reach out to the epilepsy community and say, ‘We mean no personal harm to anybody,’ which of course they don’t,” the actor told ABC News Radio. “They probably just don’t even realize the people they are offending and how this could possibly offend people.”

In addition to Murphy and Stiller, “Tower Heist” also stars Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Michael Pena, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda and Tea Leoni.

The movie hits theaters November 4.


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