Coffee lounge
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

Anonymous descriptions of discrimination against disabled actors have emerged

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,517

Scope community team

edited April 9 in Coffee lounge
Taken from The Independent:

Amy Poehler, Naomie Harris and Jessica Barden are among the 80 actors and entertainment professionals who have signed an open letter against prejudice and discrimination towards disabled talent in Hollywood.

The letter states that there is an “urgent need to act on disability inclusion” and demands that major studios appoint permanent disability officers, who would have a variety of responsibilities including seeking out opportunities for disabled talent and ensuring inclusive and accessible hiring practices.

Around one in four adults in the US have some form of disability, according to government figures, yet one study found that just 3.5 per cent of regular characters in TV series were disabled in 2020.

Of the 27 Oscar winners who have played characters with a disability, only two were portrayed by disabled actors: Harold Russell in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives and Marlee Matlin in 1987 for Children of a Lesser God.

The letter and the #DontDismissDis campaign have been organised by agent Keely Cat-Wells, who said she lost a job because of her disability when she was an actor.

“Covid-19 made productions recruit Covid officers and specialists to keep cast and crew members safe so they could keep accessing work, in order to save as many jobs as possible,” she said.

“The disabled community have faced threats, lost jobs and dealt with a lack of access long before Covid-19, and unlike this situation, there has been no drastic steps to provide security.”

Harris added: “If you show the injustice of the system and say, ‘Look, here’s a way forward,’ it makes it more difficult for people to ignore.”

In an accompanying document, titled Hollywood Horror Stories, disabled talent anonymously detailed the discrimination they have encountered.

One actor said: “I was asked to audition where the audition room was up a flight of stairs with no elevator, the role specifically asked for someone who was disabled to play the role.”

Are you surprised that disabled actors have faced discrimination in Hollywood? What do you think has caused this? Could the under-hiring of disabled actors have played a role? Should non-disabled people be allowed to play disabled characters?
Online Community Coordinator, she/her

Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.


  • deb74deb74 Member Posts: 756 Pioneering
    unfortunately I think discrimination is something that will never go away! I definitely don't agree with able bodied actors playing disabled characters. I am sure there are plenty of disabled actors who are just never given the opportunity to act!
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,113 Disability Gamechanger
    As others have said discrimination isn't going to go away  disability in films and series and soaps even adverts should be played by disabled actors  it is annoying watching an able bodied person playing  a disabled  person very frustrating 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,517

    Scope community team

    Thanks for the contributions @deb74 @lisathomas50. Do you think anything could be done to improve opportunities for disabled actors? Do you think enough opportunities are given to young disabled people, for example, to encourage them to try acting? 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
  • deb74deb74 Member Posts: 756 Pioneering
    Disabled actors are certainly not give the opportunities that they should have. I think It all comes down to discrimination and the fact that we seem to be seen as second class citizens!
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,113 Disability Gamechanger
    @Tori_Scope disabled actors should be encouraged more and I think that producers should also be encouraged to use disabled actors and disabled people should be encouraged to act if that's what they want 

    Two people I know who have downs syndrome are models and doing realy well disability doesn't mean you can't do things just means your better with some things than others and disabled people certainly aren't stupid I think most of it is about discrimination  

    It's more annoying to see an able bodied person trying to play a disabled person than a disabled person playing the part 
Sign in or join us to comment.