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CBS Promises To Open Up All Of Their Castings To People With Disabilities



In media, one of the main things marginalized groups struggle with is representation. In the post #MeToo era we are currently experiencing, many are realizing the injustices many groups face especially when we are considering those with disabilities. According to a survey conducted by the Disability Compendium, about 13% of the U.S. population lived with some sort of disability in 2016.


Because of the fact that that number has been on a steady incline, odds are that today in 2019 that number has increased significantly still, representation in media does not reflect that. The Ruderman Family Foundation started a movement that would pressure production companies to do more in order to cast people with disabilities (PWD) in all of the productions. 


CBS has recently pledged to do just that — they’ve become the first production house to respond to the Ruderman Family Foundation’s call to action and will begin auditioning PWD in all of their production. This includes everything from CBS networks, CBS Television studios, as well as their streaming services, CBS all access.

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According to research by the Ruderman Family Foundation, less than two percent of television characters represent the PWD community which makes no sense when there are tens of thousands of people living with disabilities in the U.S. alone. 


This push for inclusivity seems to be making a difference because, in the last few years, there has been an uptick in the number of shows and different productions to feature actors with disabilities. Recently, Ali Stroker — a Broadway talent who’s featured in the Broadway production of ‘Oklahoma!’ — won a Tony award for her role in that production, making her the first wheelchair-bound person to win the award. 


This year, there will also be a movie debuting later this year called ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ that will be featuring a Down Syndrome actor as the film’s protagonist. He will be starring alongside Shia Lebouf and Dakota Johnson. Then there is Freeform’s upcoming comedy, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ and Netflix’s popular comedy, ‘Special’ that each features a protagonist actors with autism and cerebral palsy, respectively. 


All of these productions show that it is possible to make a great, hilarious, or interesting show using talented PWD, and hopefully, this isn’t momentary change but something that other production companies should, at the very least, begin to emulate.


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