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Eating Disorder Charity Slams Spencer For 'Graphic' Depiction Of Bulimia

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Eating Disorder Charity Slams Spencer For 'Graphic' Depiction Of Bulimia

Eating disorder charity BEAT has expressed “disappointment” at the depiction of bulimia in the latest cinema release, Spencer.

The critically-acclaimed film, which stars Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, observes Christmas with the royal family in 1991, and shows the late Princess of Wales in the grip of a mental health crisis.

Spencer shows Diana, who had spoken openly about her bulimia throughout her lifetime, repeatedly make herself sick throughout the film’s 111 minute run time, as well as self-harming with a pair of wire cutters.

Kristen Stewart plays the troubled princess (Credit: STXFilms)
Kristen Stewart plays the troubled princess (Credit: STXFilms)
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And now, Tom Quinn, Director of External Affairs for BEAT has hit out at the film for its “graphic” portrayal of an eating disorder.

“We are very disappointed to see the inclusion of graphic eating disorder behaviours, self-harm and specific mentions of weight throughout Spencer,” he told Tyla.

“Eating disorders are very competitive illnesses, and we know that showing eating disorder behaviours can serve as inspiration or motivation to those who are unwell. We are also concerned that the film’s trailers do not mention Diana’s eating disorder, and therefore viewers may not be prepared for the level of detail included in the film.

"Portraying eating disorders in films can be a very effective way to raise awareness about the reality of these serious mental illnesses. However, in order to protect people affected by or vulnerable to eating disorders, it is crucial that they are depicted in a responsible way, as laid out in BEAT’s media guidelines.

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BEAT advises people who are suffering with an eating disorder or concerned about their health to avoid watching the film (Credit: STXFilms)
BEAT advises people who are suffering with an eating disorder or concerned about their health to avoid watching the film (Credit: STXFilms)

“With this in mind, we would not advise anyone currently unwell, or concerned about their health, to watch Spencer. If any viewers have been affected and need support, BEAT’s Helpline services are open 365 days a year.” 

While the film does have a small advisory under its British Board of Film Classification to say it contains scenes related to an eating disorder, Spencer is rated a 12A, meaning that children under 12 can see the film if they are accompanied by an adult.

It is thought between 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, with 40 per cent of that number suffering from bulimia.

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Diana had spoken publicly about her eating disorder previously (Credit: STXFilms)
Diana had spoken publicly about her eating disorder previously (Credit: STXFilms)

People aged 16 to 40 are mostly common sufferers of an eating disorder, with the average age of onset is between 18 and 19 years of age.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates among psychiatric disorders.

Tyla has contacted a spokesperson for Spencer for comment.

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If you have been affected by the content of this article, or need further support, visit the BEAT website here.

Featured Image Credit: STXfilms

Topics: Royal Family, TV And Film, Health

Kimberley Bond
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