You got it wrong. Usually your TV programs are the one I encourage my children watch. Imagine my surprise the other evening when my children were watching “Jessie“. In the episode, Bye Bye Bertie, the loyal butler had enough of the children’s shenanigans and quit. Yes! I thought to myself. Finally the children (and mine) are being taught a lesson that adults are to be respected, that we are not here to just clean up their messes and we are not their friends.
Cue the next scene, when the butler is hired by the neighbor. A rich, extravagant woman with fetishes. First, what the hell are fetishes doing on a Disney program? Sure they go over my child’s head but Disney, you are sending a subliminal message and it isn’t pretty.
Then it got worse.
The rich lady had the butler put on tight shorts, talked to him in a degrading fashion and proceeds to chase him around the condo.
Does he quit because of the abuse? No.
Does he say, “you cannot treat hired help this way”? No.
Does he in anyway defend himself of call her on her actions? No.
Does he call the police, the condo association or any victim help group? No.
Do the children he used to serve and his former co-worker protect or defend him when they see him being abused? NO.
The Butler only quits when the children apologize for their behavior and ask him to come back. He is immediately replaced by another butler who is immediately subjected to the behavior that hasn’t been allowed in the workplace since Lilly Tomlin showed her boss who was in charge 9-5.
Did the Butler, the children or the nanny stop the abuse of the new butler? No. They ran away laughing.
Disney, if this had been an episode where the pretty nanny had to dress in tight clothes and be subjected to lewd comments from her rich boss it wouldn’t have made it from the writer to the table read. The episode would not have been filled with a laugh-track but poignant moments where you taught children everywhere what a respectful workplace looks like and how employers treat their employees.
Or they face a lawsuit and criminal charges.
Disney you could have done great with this episode. Debby Ryan, the STAR of the show, has been very public about being in an abusive relationship. She has a campaign about dating violence. Do you not think that maybe workplace violence falls into that same category? Did not one person at the network or on the show say this episode might be sending the wrong message?
Disney, you could have shown children how Bertram stood up for himself, how the children he serves stood up for him and how his coworker (their nanny) taught them how to behave.
Instead you went for the cheap laugh.
And my children have one more TV Show on their “do not watch” list.
A parent who knows what is funny and what is criminal behavior.