After 2016 Oscar nominations came out and #OscarsSoWhite began, Hollywood has scrambled to fix its diversity problem by leaving people with disabilities out of the inclusion mandate.
During the Ruderman Studio-Wide Roundtable on Disability Inclusion, hosted by the Ruderman Family Foundation at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills the 1st of November; Marlee Matlin, the only deaf performer to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, expressed her concern about disability inclusion among TV characters. Hollywood’s exclusion of disabled people means a lose of authenticity and a discouragement of people with disabilities from pursuing careers in acting, writing, producing, directing, etc. In this way, they aren’t given the same opportunities in terms of access to employment, which is the Zero Project’s 2017 Conference main topic.
The need to raise awareness about this issue by being vocal and be on Twitter was highlighted, so people understand it is important. Despite the infuriating stats and stories shared throughout both panels, no one in the room seemed discouraged or ready to give up the inclusion fight. The fact that the issue was discussed and the point on the situation was marked, it is a first step to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Hollywood.