Halle Berry’s Diabetes Controversy

OMG… did you know that Halle Berry is pregnant?!

The actress who is also a fellow PWD (person with diabetes) is getting her second child. At age 46.

OK, celebrity dish fans may care more about this information than people do, but what makes it relevant to the Diabetes Community is the fact that we’re talking about a few of the very controversial famous-person PWDs… You know, that whole Halle Barry Diabetes Confusion Ruckus that still disturbs most of us the wrong way? The sole revolving around her perplexing comments back in 2007, when she informed everybody that she’d “treated” herself of type 1 diabetes and was able to wean off herself insulin because of a much healthier diet?

Yes, that Halle Berry. Who happens to star in catwoman films.

Well, this Halle Berry conversation came up in my world recently at a local meetup, where a few friends and that I joined to work on planning a fundraising event for our nearby diabetes camp later this season. There were four of us: myself, a fellow type 1 diagnosed about two years ago in his 30s, a D-Dad who has a daughter with type 1, and also a non-PWD who functions in the advertising world. We met for a few hours at a neighborhood restaurant in Indianapolis, and then chatted casually from the parking lot for a few minutes before parting ways. Someone asked about any local celebs or “celebrities” that we could recruit to help bring more visitors to the function.

And that’s when the title Halle Barry was pitched into the dialogue, given her recent news cycle modification.

LOL! I laughed loudly (for those maybe not cool to texting speech), and responded with: “Only if we could throw tomatoes at her on stage!”

My comment was met with blank stares and eyebrows raised in confusion.

“… Because she’s such a terrible spokesperson to be symbolizing diabetes,” I added for context, expecting that to be enough.

It wasn’t. My fellow event-planners did not appear to know about the whole Halle Berry D-Confusion, so I took a moment to educate them.

That immediately led back to, “Still, she’s diabetes, which star power would bring in so many men and women!”

I shook my head, knowing that we were just joking around anyway because the likelihood of us hooking in Halle Berry is pretty damn low. But this brought up an interesting topic: Where is the line between netting a spokesperson with star-power, versus working with somebody who might be seen negatively as much as representing a particular cause? This goes back to the Paula Deen controversy, when so many were shocked that this “Queen of Butter-Soaked Southern Cooking” would unexpectedly be held up as a role model for those who have diabetes. (She is appearing alongside Phil Southerland of Team Type 1 at this summer’s AADE Annual Meeting, btw.)

Yes, Paula had a major change of heart in terms of cooking lighter, but does not she represent the issue more than The Solution?

Halle Berry’s situation is perhaps even more complex in the sense that her connection with diabetes just appears to confound the people’s confusion regarding diabetes kinds — definitely not in the interest of the folks currently calling for much more clarity there!

Personally, I would hope no one would ever consider Halle for a fantastic spokesperson for a diabetes cause. However, that hasn’t stopped her from performing just that — increasing diabetes awareness, especially among African-Americans who are at greater risk of developing type 2. In Actuality, in 2004, she was labeled as the first ambassador for the National Diabetes Education — Diabetes Aware Campaign, with support from the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Novo Nordisk.

So, does that mean she’s a worthy celeb to feature as a federal “surface of diabetes”?

IMHO, no. I don’t think she’s suited for that role. If Halle is totally off insulin, she doesn’t now nor ever had type 1, no matter what she asserts. If in fact she weaned herself off insulin as she asserts, then it’s probably that she was misdiagnosed and should have been told that she has type 2. Then, she might have clarified this and aided the planet at large to understand the differences.

But she insisted on her first claim that she “treated herself” of type 1. Even though our own D-Community has largely worked around her remarks and her latest news has brought the problem of healthy pregnancies with diabetes to the media’s focus, Halle’s comments have caused irreparable harm to PWDs who have to deal with comments in the public enjoy, “Halle Berry ceased taking insulin, and that means you can, too!”

Sure, she’s not the only one and won’t be the final to cause confusion such as this. But others aren’t denying themselves as “celeb spokespeople” like she is. Not someone I’d want to be connected with, as far as diabetes advocacy is worried.

Attempting to be sure I’m not completely off-base in my believing and overreacting here, I reached out to fellow D-Peep Kelly Kunik, who actually started her blog known as Diabetesaliciousness because of this first Halle Berry ruckus. Kelly is among our community’s most outspoken and outspoken supporters on all things related to media diabetes and awareness misinformation.

“WTF?!” and “Not again! ,” were Kelly’s first reactions when she watched Halle from the news, she informs us.

“I don’t enjoy or enjoy that she called diabetes ‘a little disease,'” Kelly said. “It’s not a tiny disease. It’s complex, complex and incredibly misunderstood by the general public. And those of us living with diabetes do not think it’s a little disease — neither do our households. Diabetes is all-encompassing. And by calling it a little disease, she does a massive disservice to the millions living with type 1, type 1.5 (LADA), and type 2.”

If asked if Halle might or should be a spokesperson for diabetes, Kelly responded with “NOT A GOOD IDEA” (yes, in all caps).

“She is not a fantastic representation of people living with diabetes, nor do I believe she’s a positive role model. And her attitude toward diabetes is not one that I need other people to replicate or channel,” Kelly adds.

Have to agree with you, Kelly. Regardless of what type of star power or celeb fame she would deliver a D-Event, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to stomach having her as a spokesperson.

I want Halle Berry well inside her D-Management and acting career and family, but I’d just assume not have her neighborhood and causing more confusion — unless of course she would be willing to “clean the air” with a reality check on this disease and a tiny myth-busting. In that instance, I would most definitely hold the berries back.

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This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog concentrated on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and does not stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. For more information regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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