Parents Say Disney Character with Cleft Lip Could Lead to Bullying

A Michigan parents group has spoken out against Disney's "The Lone Ranger" because a character in the movie, Butch Cavendish, appears to have a cleft lip. In promotions for the movie, Cavendish is described as "a ruthless outlaw whose terribly scarred face is a perfect reflection of the bottomless pit that passes for his soul." Moms from the Michigan Cleft Network are concerned that this could create problems for children with cleft lip or cleft palate.

Detroit news station WDIV-TV spoke to several women from Michigan Cleft Network. Christy Mausolf said that the movie upset her because her daughter, 4-year-old Gracie, was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate and has had seven surgeries, she told WDIV-TV.

"It's really hard to see, because we don't look at her as being scary or mean or even different, for that matter," she says in the WDIV video report, above. "I just wish they would realize that you can't just throw these things out there, that there are people who have differences and they don't need any more excuses for bullying."

Teresa Croughen formed Michigan Cleft as a support network for parents when her now 8-year-old son, Johnny, was born with multiple clefts.

"I wanted to make sure no family out there, at least in Michigan, was going to have a child born with something as common as a cleft and feel as isolated as I did, or as overwhelmed," she told The Huffington Post. "I had a beautiful baby and all anyone could see is the hole in his face."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,651 babies in the United States are born with a cleft palate each year and 4,437 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate.

Image: Butch Cavendish, via Zap2It


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