Mark Ruffalo, Bryan Cranston and Edward Norton are among the many stars who’ve signed an open letter urging Hollywood executives to create more opportunities for those with disabilities.
The letter does not mince words, calling out film and TV studios for producing numerous projects focusing on disabled characters — yet rarely casting disabled actors to play them.
“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 a disability,” reads the letter originating from the Ruderman Family Foundation, according to Variety.
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In addition to the aforementioned actors, others to sign include Marlee Matlin, Peter Farrelly, Chris Cooper, 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, Ruth Madeley, RJ Mitte, Steven Weber, Danny Woodburn, Kurt Yaeger and 97-year-old TV icon Norman Lear, who was instrumental in the groundbreaking casting of disabled comedian Geri Jewell in “The Facts of Life” back in the 1980s.
As the letter points out, disabled people represent 21 per cent of the population — the “largest minority in the world” — yet they are regularly left out of discussions about diversity, with able-bodied actors continually cast as disabled characters.
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“Despite its immense potential for leadership in inclusion, social justice and civil rights, Hollywood has for far too long left disability out of the conversation about diversity,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said. “The courage of these initial signatories will undoubtedly serve to activate and inspire their peers in Hollywood. We call upon more actors and executives to add their names to this letter and make inclusion in the entertainment industry a priority.”
You can read the letter in its entirety right here.