ALS Therapy Alliance, a Boston-based nonprofit group, is slamming "Ted," the raunchy comedy from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, for a joke about Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The organization, which raises funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, isn't laughing after it says a line from the film that makes light of the degenerative disorder went viral.
In "Ted," Mark Wahlberg tells a romantic rival, played by Joel McHale, "From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig's disease."
But in a statement, ALS Therapy Alliance says the disease, which has no cure, is not something to be made fun of and argues the film sends the wrong message.
"We want to make it clear that ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is not a laughing matter for people and families suffering from this life-threatening illness,” Traci Bisson, project research manager for ALS Therapy Alliance, said in a statement. "The punch line in the movie 'Ted' comes at the expense of people afflicted with ALS."
The group said it was motivated to release a statement condemning the line after it began surfacing on Twitter and Facebook. Its comments come a day before July 4, the anniversary of Gehrig's departure from Major League Baseball.
A spokeswoman for Universal declined to comment, and MacFarlane's publicist did not immediately respond to requests for comment
Named for its most famous victim, Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig, the disease impacts breathing, coordination and muscle strength. It effects roughly 5 out of every 100,000 people worldwide.
Like MacFarlane's hit show "The Family Guy," "Ted" is a boundary-pushing comedy that overflows with crude, sometimes politically incorrect humor. The raunchy film has been a success with critics and audiences, earning $54.4 million last weekend in the United States and capturing the top spot at the domestic box office.
“We are not condemning Seth MacFarlane,” ALS Therapy Alliance's Bisson added. “We just want to stop this alarming trend before it becomes too widespread… We hope the filmmakers move beyond the unfortunate way Lou Gehrig’s disease is used in the film and join us in finding a positive way to raise awareness and research funding to help find a cure.”