In the last few days, there have been several dozen news outlets talking about how a Twitter thread I wrote about adding a warning about strobe lights in the new Incredibles 2 movie went viral, and how Disney has responded by adding signs and warnings about the use of strobe lights in the movie. I am beyond thrilled that Disney listened to my advice and the advice of other activists and organizations that had raised a concern about the use of strobe lights in the film, though I have not heard from Disney directly about this issue. For this post, I will be sharing five of my favorite articles that have been written about my work to warn others about the use of strobe lights in Incredibles 2.
Theaters to Add Strobe Light Warning to ‘Incredibles 2’ After Viral Twitter Thread- Variety
This weekend’s release of the long-awaited “Incredibles 2” has prompted some attendees to caution others via Twitter that the movie has several scenes with flashing lights that could pose a danger to those with epilepsy or other light-sensitive conditions — and that “Incredibles 2” doesn’t come with its own strobe light warning.
Disney has been notified of the situation and asked all theaters that are showing “Incredibles 2” to notify patrons of the scene in question.
Blogger and Twitter user Veronica Lewis (@veron4ica) seems to have initiated the warning online with a Twitter thread that has gone viral, in addition to a post to her blog, Veroniiiica.
She wrote that “Incredibles 2” is “filled with tons of strobe/flashing lights,” and explained that people with photosensitive epilepsy aren’t the only ones who could be affected — those who suffer from migraines, vision impairments, seizure conditions, vertigo (specifically flicker vertigo), autism, ADHD, and PTSD could also experience a reaction to the images.
She detailed that one of the scenes lasts at least 90 seconds and that others range from five to 30 seconds in length. She added that her descriptive audio device did warn her of some of the scenes, but not all.
Lewis made it clear she wasn’t calling for a boycott of the film, or asking Disney to remove it from theaters. Rather, she just wanted to make sure parents were informed before taking their children who could be affected to see “Incredibles 2.”
“I just wish Disney/Pixar and theaters alike would issue a warning that the movie contains several scenes with strobe lights,” she wrote.
So far, no incidents as a result of watching “Incredibles 2” have been reported.
In 1997, 685 children were sent to hospitals in Japan after an episode of “Pokemon” flashed red and blue lights to animate a scene in which Pikachu blows up missiles in cyberspace. Nintendo’s stocks took a hit after the incident, which became known in Japan as “Pokemon Shock,” and the show was taken off the air for nearly four months.
Incredibles 2 adds strobe light warning after shockingly polite Twitter protest- The AV Club
(Side note, this is my favorite headline!)
Somehow, the story of the Pokémon episode that sent hundreds of Japanese children to the emergency room back in 1997 missed the animation aficionados at Pixar. As was pointed out—and soon addressed by Disney—in a shockingly civil fan campaign on Twitter over the weekend, among the techniques employed by The Incredibles 2 villain The Screen Slaver is rapidly flashing lights—an effect that can trigger seizures in the photosensitive when displayed at the right frequency as well as migraines, vertigo, and assorted negative reactions from those who suffer from autism and PTSD, as well as the vision impaired. It’s the reason you see warning signs posted in haunted houses and laser tag arenas and whatnot.
A vision-impaired woman named Veronica Lewis first pointed out the phenomenon on Friday in an extremely polite Twitter thread that quickly went viral. Now, Disney says it’ll do just that, and has asked theaters showing the massively popular animated film to post signs warning patrons of the potential neurological perils within. We say “potential” because as of this writing, no incidents have been reported involving the film. But if you’ve ever been in a public place and seen someone having an epileptic seizure—or, of course, if you or a loved one suffers from the condition—you know it’s better to be safe than sorry.
‘Incredibles 2’ Is Huge Hit But Now Comes With A Warning- CBS Los Angeles
The highly-anticipated “Incredibles 2” opened as the biggest animated film in history.
But now it’s also coming with a warning.
People who are light-sensitive or epileptic began warning other film-goers on social media.
There is a strobe-light sequence in the picture that apparently caused some people to become nauseous.
Disney/Pixar believe the problem was serious enough to ask theaters to start posting signs warning about the sequence.
The sequel to “The Incredibles” — a movie about a family of superheroes — might be the perfect first movie for little Luca Figueroa.
His mother told KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo he loved it.
“It was really good, it was really cute,” she says.”We waited a really long time to see that movie.”
But some say some scenes are affecting more than just the characters.
People tweeted that the strobe effects the villain uses left them nauseous, or worse, gave them a seizure.
“So as a result, I walked out of the theater with a migraine,” said blogger Veronica Lewis.
That’s why Lewis took to Twitter in a thread that’s now gone viral asking Disney & Pixar to do as their character says — make things right.
She makes it clear she thinks the strobe lights are integral to the plot. And she’s not asking for a boycott. She just wants viewers with photosensitive conditions to have a heads up. And the movie to come with a warning.
“My goal in writing the thread,” she says, “was that if I even just help one person not have to deal with the effects of strobe lights. from watching this movie, I would consider myself a success.”
It worked. Moviegoers at the AMC in Santa Monica And Arclight in Sherman Oaks and theaters around the country are now greeted with signs warning audiences.
So the only surprises will be the plot twists
“It was only the light that made the movie theater bright. But it didn’t hurt my eyes,” said one fan.
“I wasn’t sure what the paper warning was about when we went into the theater,” said another, “but I forgot about it.”
Disney told theaters the warning was just acting out of an abundance of caution.
Fajardo reported this is not the first time strobe effects have raised concerns in movies. Back in the 90s, hundreds of children in Japan went sent to the hospital during a Pokemon episode.
What Does ‘The Incredibles 2’ Have To Do With Migraines Or Seizures?- Forbes
There can be good reactions to a movie, and there can be bad reactions. Then, there can be really bad reactions. Many critics and fans have reacted well to the new Incredibles 2 movie. However, the following Tweet warned about some potential reactions to scenes from the animated superhero movie:
HEALTH ALERT I haven’t seen this mentioned in a lot of places, but the new Incredibles 2 movie (#incredibles2) is filled with tons of strobe/flashing lights that can cause issues for people with epilepsy, migraines, and chronic illness. This thread is spoiler free
— Veronica Lewis (@veron4ica) June 15, 2018
Lewis was concerned that scenes in the sequel to the 2005 Oscar-winning The Incredibles may be too flashy. But not in a bling-bling, nouveau riche type of way. Rather, Lewis was referring to the visual stimuli associated with some of the movie’s action scenes as she further described in the Twitter thread: “So, the villain’s weapon of choice in the movie is bright white lights that are at a rapidly flashing/strobing frequency, with the intent to disorient people,” and “one of these scenes lasts over 90 seconds with continuous strobe light, other scenes last anywhere from 5-30 seconds.”
She also explained that:
These scenes are also spread out across the movie and often come without warning. My descriptive audio device warned me about the larger scenes, but other times it was light strobe lights came out of nowhere for no reason.
Indeed, tackiness is not the only reason why more people don’t put strobe lights in their bedrooms. Looking directly at flashing lights can give you a headache, make you nauseous, or even lead to vertigo. Moreover, a study published in the journal Cephalgia found that 38.1% of migraine sufferers listed lights as a trigger for acute migraine attacks.
Then for those with what’s termed photosensitive epilepsy, flashing lights could even trigger a seizure, a so-called photic seizure. According to a publication in the journal Epilepsia, a review of the scientific literature determined that “people with epilepsy have a 2–14% chance of having seizures precipitated by light or (a) pattern.” The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida also tweeted out the following warning about the movie:
Some have expressed concerns about flashing lights in the new Incredibles 2 movie. If you are among the 3% of people who live with photosensitive epilepsy, you may want to be cautious about seeing this film.
— EpilepsyFoundationFL (@EFOF) June 16, 2018
Of course, not all flashing lights are problematic. Otherwise, traffic lights, Elton John’s clothes, and bedazzlers could wreak more havoc than they do. As the Epilepsy Foundation describes, lights that flash 5 to 30 times per second are more likely to trigger seizures. Also, the brighter the lights and the closer you are to the light, the greater the risk. But the thresholds may differ from person to person.
Keep in mind that Lewis’s Tweets seem to be just warnings and not indications that The Incredibles 2 scenes have already resulted in adverse health effects. Moreover, Lewis emphasized that she was not telling people to avoid the movie. Her Tweet thread continued by stating:
I am not calling for a boycott of Incredibles 2, or to change the movie. It is very well done, and the strobe lights are an important point in the plot. I just wish Disney/Pixar and theaters alike would issue a warning that the movie contains several scenes with strobe lights
As seen on a subsequent Tweet from Lewis, on Friday, Walt Disney Pictures did send an advisory to theaters showing the movie, asking them to warn customers about the strobe light scene:
Thank you to everyone for retweeting this, writing articles, and signal boosting my message! My goal of having signs at the ticket counter was reached so that people can be warned about the flashing lights in Incredibles 2.
— Veronica Lewis (@veron4ica) June 17, 2018
So these days, just because a movie makes you nauseous, doesn’t mean that it has a bad plot or bad acting. The movie industry isn’t what it was several decades ago, when a rubber shark chewing on a boat was considered a stunning special effect. Nowadays, many movies have a lot of visual stimuli, including increasing use of CGI (computer-generated imagery). Such stimuli has been spreading to television, videos on the web, and social media as well. Could all of this result in more “flicker illness,” which is not the excessive use of the photo-sharing platform Flikr, but instead encompasses the ill effects that may occur from viewing something that is flickering?
If you are a film or video maker, you may think that using extensive visual stimuli may generate awe. But make sure that you aren’t accidentally generating “aw $@%^” moments. Ask yourself if such stimuli are really necessary. Before throwing in such stimuli, consider consulting medical professionals to make sure that you aren’t crossing some lines. And if you still decide to use stimuli that could lead to “Flicker Illness,” try to give viewers proper warning such as a alert before the film, a slow build-up to the moment, or a character saying, “I am going to be using a strobe light weapon in T-minus 10, 9, 8…” After all, you don’t want to hurt viewers and have your film or video be no more than a flash in the pan.
Disney Asks Theaters to Add ‘Incredibles 2’ Seizure Warning- Military.com
“Incredibles 2” had a massive weekend at the box office, earning $183.2 million and beating the previous record for an animated film by more than $50 million. That success wasn’t without controversy, though.
Disney is asking theaters to post a seizure warning about the strobe lights used by villain Screenslaver to hypnotize the movie’s superhero characters. As many of our readers know, strobe lights can trigger PTSD, seizures, migraines, epilepsy, flicker vertigo, vision impairments, autism, and ADHD.
It’s hard to imagine that no one thought about this issue before the movie’s release, but it was a tweet from college student Veronica Lewis that alerted the studio to the situation. By the end of the weekend, signs started going up at theaters around the country.
Veronica also wrote an excellent blog post about the experience. The VA needs to keep track of this one and try to recruit her after she finishes college.
There have been no seizure reports so far, but anyone who’s facing this issue deserves a heads up.