CBS pledges to audition more actors with disabilities

CBS will commit to auditioning actors with disabilities for each new production.

The move follows a request from the disability advocacy organisation Ruderman Family Foundation, which estimates 55 million Americans (about 20 percent of the population) have disabilities, but fewer than 2 percent of television characters do.

Of those characters, 95 percent are played by able-bodied actors.

“The Ruderman Family Foundation commends CBS for its leadership in becoming the first major media company to pledge to audition actors with disabilities for roles in their productions,” Foundation president Jay Ruderman said in a statement. “It is our hope that other major media companies will follow their lead and foster opportunities that will lead to more authentic representation of people with disabilities in popular entertainment. Enhanced visibility of disability onscreen will help reduce stigmas people with disabilities face in everyday life.”

The pledge reads as follows:

We recognize that disability is central to diversity, that the disability community comprises the largest minority in our nation, and that people with disabilities face seclusion from the entertainment industry.

We understand that increasing auditions, no matter the size of the role, is a critical step toward achieving inclusion in the industry.

This studio pledges to increase the number of actors and actresses with disabilities who audition for parts on television and in film.

One Comment:

  1. As a person with a disability I can vouch for how important it is to be able to see people like yourself in TV and movies. One of my favourite shows growing up was Las Vegas (NBC version with Josh Duhamel) and I loved being able to see Mitch Longley (an actor in a wheelchair) as a key member of the cast (I think he went from a guest role to a regular role, with the final season seeing him in some awesome bachelor party scenes). Other great examples include Michael J Fox (Parkinson’s; The Michael J Fox Show, Good Wife) and Marlee Matlin (deaf; Switched at Birth, Magicians).

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