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Monday, December 23, 2019

Hollywood and Inclusion

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss depictions of ASD in popular culture.  

Latesha Harris at Variety:
Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo are among the stars who have signed an open letter calling on Hollywood executives to create more opportunities for people with disabilities.
The growing number of industry notables who have signed the letter include Academy Award winners Marlee Matlin, Peter Farrelly and Chris Cooper, as well as Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Bobby Farrelly, Glen Mazzara, Ali Stroker, Tony Shalhoub, Jason Alexander, Tim Bagley, Marianne Leone Cooper, Willie Garson, Sammi Haney, CJ Jones, Orlando Jones (who was recently fired from “American Gods”), Ruth Madeley, RJ Mitte, Steven Weber, Danny Woodburn and Kurt Yaeger. Another signer was Norman Lear, who pioneered hiring people with disabilities when he cast Geri Jewell as a recurring character on “Facts of Life” for the 1980-84 seasons.

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. [Harold Russell and Marlee Matlin]


While many beloved characters have a disability, opportunities for actors with disabilities are virtually non-existent. In fact, research shows that 95 percent 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.