Nyle DiMarco Slams ‘Sierra Burgess’ Over Problematic Deaf ‘Joke': ‘Our Lives Are on the Line’
Nyle DiMarco, who rose to fame as the first deaf winner of America's Next Top Model in 2015 and won Dancing With the Stars the following year, is not as charmed with Noah Centineo-starring rom-com Sierra Burgess Is a Loser as others.
On Sunday (September 9), the actor, model and activist slammed the Sierra filmmakers on Twitter, accusing the Netflix film of "lazy writing" and making problematic jokes about people who are deaf.
"So one of my close friends' deaf brother is in Sierra Burgess," DiMarco tweeted, referencing young actor Cochise Zornoza, who plays Jamey's (Centineo) little brother Ty, who is deaf, in the film.
"When I learned, I was elated," he continued. "Finally more deaf actors/representation & ASL inclusion in films...only to find out the deaf character was written and used for a terrible joke. PS- pretending to be deaf is NOT ok."
During a gag sequence in the film, lead character Sierra (Shannon Purser) briefly pretends to be deaf after catfishing Jamey on the phone, so he will not recognize her voice in person. However, when Jamey introduces Ty to her, who attempts to communicate using ASL, Sierra — who doesn't understand ASL and is not actually deaf — merely gives the young boy a fist bump.
The teen flick, DiMarco added, also includes a handful of other tone-deaf lines, including homophobic and transphobic jokes.
"You shouldn’t make these jokes AT ALL because our lives are on the line," he added.
See DiMarco's tweets, below: