Continuing its campaign to improve the portrayal of disabilities in entertainment, and increasing the number of roles that cast actors with disabilities, the Ruderman Family Foundation is enlisting Hollywood studios, networks and production companies to make a simple commitment: audition actors with disabilities with each new production picked up to series.
CBS is the first Hollywood company to sign the Jewish Group’s pledge.
“We take pride in our commitment to cast and hire people with disabilities in our productions,” CBS Entertainment EVP, Diversity, Inclusion & Communications Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i said. “We salute the Ruderman Family Foundation for advocating for this very achievable and important goal.”
CBS’ hit series “NCIS: New Orleans” was one of the initial foursome of TV series this spring to receive the Foundation’s Seal of Authentic Representation, for its casting of Daryl “Chill” Mitchell in the role of agent Patton Plame. CBS, which includes the CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS All Access streaming service and other units, has a company-wide policy of encouraging inclusion and diversity – in all forms.
“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. “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 on screen will help reduce stigmas people with disabilities face in everyday life.”
The Ruderman Family Foundation’s pledge reads:
- “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 in television and film.”
With about 55 million Americans with disabilities, opportunities for actors with disabilities are very rare, as are on-screen depictions of people with disabilities. In fact, 95% of characters with disabilities are played by able-bodied actors on television. The Ruderman Family Foundation is working to correct that disparity.
About the Ruderman Family Foundation
The Ruderman Family Foundation is an internationally recognized organization that advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our society. The Foundation supports effective programs, innovative partnerships and a dynamic approach to philanthropy in advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the U.S. and the world.
The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community and imposes these values within its leadership and funding.
For more information, please visit www.rudermanfoundation.org
More from The New Normal here.
Support the New York Jewish Week
Our nonprofit newsroom depends on readers like you. Make a donation now to support independent Jewish journalism in New York.