Will Ferrell came under intense fire on social media Thursday after Variety reported that the actor has been tapped to star as President Reagan in a comedy film that spoofs the 40th president’s Alzheimer’s disease.
Michael Reagan, President Reagan’s eldest son, was among the first to blast Ferrell’s role in the film, Reagan, in a series of fiery tweets:
Alheimers is not a comedy it robs you then it kills you @THR
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) April 28, 2016
#Alzheimers is not a comedy to the 5 million people who are suffering with the decease,it first robs you of your mind and then it kills you
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) April 29, 2016
“The story begins at the start of the ex-president’s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander in chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie,” Variety reported.
“I watched two loved ones suffer and ultimately die from Alzheimer’s. If Ferrel [sic] makes this movie I’ll never forgive him,” one commenter said.
“Alzheimer’s is not funny. I cared for my father as he wasted away for 10 years. Its [sic] soul crushing for those who love them, & how dare you ridicule the Reagan children & all of us who have lived this nightmare,” said another.
Indeed, the furor for Will Ferrell was most palpable on Twitter:
Dementia is shits and giggles now, isn't it? Unreal…https://t.co/NbS2h2oDs3
— (((Avi))) (@mrAvinash) April 27, 2016
Alzheimer 's is by no means funny. It kills treasured memories and robs you of your very existence.# WillFerrell
— Candace Browning (@candybrowning91) April 28, 2016
R/T If you think mocking President Reagan's battle with dementia by way of a comedy movie is insensitive to people afflicted by that illness
— John Miller (@JVM225) April 28, 2016
— ULTM8SerenaWilliamsf (@ultm8swfans) April 29, 2016
alzheimer's is not a comedy. shame on will ferrell.
— katherine jane (@katherinejross) April 29, 2016
Very sad that Will Ferrell apparently finds himself so hard up for work. Disrespectful and not at all funny.
— Mike Elmendorf (@MikeElmendorf) April 29, 2016
Ronald Wilson Reagan served as President of the United States from 1981 to 1989, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994. He died on June 5th, 2004, after having suffered from the debilitating disease for nearly a decade.
Alzheimer’s disease slowly destroys brain functions, including memory, balance, and coordination, and typically targets those 65 years of age and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than five million Americans suffer from the incurable disease.