Several West Virginia state lawmakers railed against actor Mark Ruffalo for depicting their citizens as “toothless hillbillies” to sell tickets for his film that premiered Friday.
Ruffalo’s film “Dark Waters” perpetuates negative stereotypes of West Virginians, according to a letter from a group of House Delegates in the state. Ruffalo played an attorney who fought legal battles against a massive chemical company that allegedly dumped toxic chemicals in the state.
“We do not need Hollywood casting West Virginia as filled with simpletons or dullards,” they wrote in an open letter Tuesday. “We are hard-working men and women who are fully aware of the challenges our state faces.”
The letter is signed by West Virginia’s Majority House Leader Amy Summers, a Republican. (RELATED: Mark Ruffalo Attacks Trump’s ‘Disgusting’ Monument Plan At Environmental Gala)
They added: “We love our West Virginia home and we do not appreciate this sort of portrayal.” Summers and the other 14 House Delegates who signed the letter singled out one scene in particular. “Dark Waters” contains a shot of a young girl on a bicycle with “blackened, rotting teeth,” they wrote.
A study published in 2018 by BMJ Open found no linkage between PFAS, or any other so-called “forever chemicals,” and the prevalence dental cavities. PFAS are called forever chemicals because they do not biodegrade and are fixtures in modern American society.
The delegates concluded with a demand that “those who profit of fear-mongering and stereotyping be held accountable.” The film is based on a 2016 article in The New York Times that tells the tale of attorney Rob Bilott, played by Ruffalo, who linked unexplained deaths to DuPont.
DuPont agreed to pay roughly $600 million to settle about 3,500 personal injury lawsuit related to Bilott’s work. He argued that the company’s use of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, poisoned drinking water in West Virginia. PFAS is a common compound and is found in most human bloodstreams.
Ruffalo is best known for his role as The Incredible Hulk in “The Avengers” movies, though he dedicates much of his time to environmental causes. He is also a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, who Ruffalo says is worsening climate change with his policies.
Summers has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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