Celiac disease is no laughing matter — something Disney Channel learned the hard way last week, when parental outrage over a few gluten-based jokes led the network to pull an episode of Jessie from its schedule. The ep was supposed to air May 17.
The jokes in question were aimed at a character named Stuart, a bespectacled 9-year-old with five pages worth of dietary requirements. Among them: He either can’t or won’t eat gluten. When he gives 8-year-old Zuri a gift basket, she rejects the gift and tells him that if he calls her “sweetie” again, he’ll “be eating some gluten-free knuckles.” Zuri also tosses a pancake at Stuart, causing him to shriek “gluten!” and cower, wiping his face furiously. (“He makes me look macho,” quips Zuri’s brother Ravi.)