Actor Harrison Holzer told Bold TV he and his team were “trying to shed some light on current internet culture,” in response to criticism of how the new Netflix film “The After Party” portrays epilepsy and seizures. Holzer said it’s a case of art imitating life and that the film defends seizure victims.
Holzer stars in the Netflix original movie, “The After Party,” which depicts a teenager having a seizure and becoming a viral meme, “Seizure Boy.” Some critics say this makes fun of people with epilepsy and seizures.
However, Holzer told Bold TV that something similar could happen in real life.
“Unfortunately, that could be filmed and it could go viral,” he said. “And in current [online] culture…that thing would go viral and people would make fun of a kid like that. So I think it was just, you know, honesty — as opposed to trying to belittle an issue like that.”
The #SeezjahBoy clip goes viral, along with a “seizure dance” that goes with it. The rest of the movie follows Owen and Jeff trying to recover the rapper’s image and get signed after the viral moment.
Holzer told Bold TV that the movie “keys in” on the idea that the “Seizure Boy” meme and nickname are problematic and offensive “a bunch of times,” including in fictionalized press coverage of the seizure. Holzer said he thinks the virality of the clip isn’t just the seizure; it’s the embarrassment that comes with puking on a celebrity.
“I think that epilepsy is an incredibly important issue and, obviously, when we were making this movie, we were never trying to demean or belittle that point,” Holzer told Bold TV.
The Epilepsy Foundation issued a statement around the movie’s launch and said the film “inaccurately portrays seizures and people who experience seizures” and that the movie “adds to the ignorance, misunderstanding” around epilepsy.
The foundation also stated: “We have reached out to Netflix and hope to work with them to ensure that seizures are accurately depicted in future projects and that Netflix includes an education component about seizure recognition and Seizure First Aid.”
Netflix has not responded publicly to the criticism cited in various media outlets; Bold TV also reached out to Netflix for a comment and did not receive a response.
**Updated Editor’s Note, 7:25p.m. EST: Harrison Holzer does not speak on behalf of Netflix.
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Photo Credit: Netflix