The Toronto Star carried this article from Los Angeles, where writer Lynn Elber sees clearly actors with disabilities lagging behind in Hollywood, while other minority performers have demanded, more successfully of late, to be seen and hired.
The reasons are complex, insiders and observers say, including unfounded concerns about added production costs, disability stereotypes, and an industry clinging to entrenched habits.
Jay Ruderman of the Ruderman Family Foundation is one of those leading the charge. The Ruderman Foundation is a philanthropic organization that advocates for inclusion for people with disabilities. “I don’t know if it’s going to be in a year, five years, 10 years or maybe not in our lifetime,” Ruderman said, “but eventually we’re going to look at actors playing a disability the same way you would look at an actor putting on blackface.”
Scott Silveri, Creator and Executive Producer of ABC’s Speechless, joins in brushing away the notion that audiences will be “thrown off” by seeing a person with a disability show up in a storyline. “When you go into a bank and a teller has a limp, do you get confused, walk out into the parking lot and walk around?” he said. “What’s the big deal? Go outside — there are crutches and canes and wheelchairs, and people using them.”
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