Danny DeVito, Bryan Cranston, Mark Ruffalo, and Glenn Close are among dozens of Hollywood insiders pressing the entertainment industry to become more inclusive of people with disabilities.
In an open letter, 72 actors, directors and others in the industry say that more needs to be done to cast performers with disabilities.
“The entertainment industry must embrace disability as a key facet of diversity and can help normalize disability, erasing the stigma that surrounds it,” reads the letter organized by the Ruderman Family Foundation, which advocates for disability inclusion.
According to the letter, there have been 61 nominations and 27 Oscar winners for portraying characters with disabilities, but in only two of those cases where the characters played by an actor with a disability themselves. Moreover, 95 percent of television characters with disabilities are portrayed by typically-developing actors.
The Hollywood bigwigs are asking studio, production and network executives to take the Ruderman Foundation’s pledge to audition actors with disabilities and commit to casting qualified performers from this population.
“From greater accessibility and opportunity, talented and high-profile actors with disabilities will emerge,” they wrote. “Infusing the industry with this largely untapped source of talent promises to boost box office and network revenues while opening the market to an even broader audience, as evidenced by all previous diversity-oriented initiatives in entertainment.”
Last year, CBS became the first studio to sign the Ruderman Family Foundation inclusion pledge.
Others who have signed the letter include Marlee Matlin, Edward Norton, Jason Alexander, RJ Mitte, Olivia Munn, Chris Cooper, Tony Shaloub, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Norman Lear, and Eva Longoria.