A host of well known names, including the likes of Danny DeVito and Edward Norton, have signed an open letter calling out Hollywood for ignoring actors with disabilities.
In an open letter published through the Ruderman Family Foundation, DeVito and Norton have been joined by the likes of Bryan Cranston, Jason Alexander, Mark Ruffalo, Marianne Leone Cooper, Cherie Currie and more in signing the topic.
“The entertainment industry has made strides in prioritising diversity,” the letter begins. “At the 2019 Academy Awards, diversity and related topics such as race, immigration, and sexual orientation were explicitly mentioned on stage 38 times. We applaud the industry for elevating these issues to the world’s largest and most glamorous stage.
“But in the history of the Academy Awards, among the 61 Oscar nominees and 27 winners playing characters with a disability, only two were authentically portrayed by an actor with disability.”
They continue” “While many beloved characters have a disability, opportunities for actors with disabilities are virtually non-existent. In fact, research shows that 95 per cent of top show characters with disabilities on TV are played by actors without disabilities. Yet it is still the norm for able-bodied actors to play characters with disabilities.
“We call on the entertainment industry to increase opportunities for performers with disabilities by taking the following steps:
- Join the Ruderman Family Foundation Pledge to audition actors with disabilities.
- Cast qualified performers with disabilities, thereby improving their visibility and expanding overall talent pools.”
The letter goes on to urge Hollywood executives to do more in the casting process, asking for more consideration of disabled actors and to “embrace disability as a key facet of diversity” and, in their words, “erase the stigma that surrounds it.”
The letter adds: “Hollywood recognises that it can’t ignore diversity, but still ignores that disability is part of that diversity.”
Read the full letter, here.
The full list of signees: