Hollywood and Inclusion


Today, November 1st the Ruderman Foundation is having a panel discussion on lack of diversity of actors with special needs not included in Hollywood. That’s true. I mean, many well bodied actors have mostly played people with special needs. And don’t get me wrong, some of them do a good job portraying the individuals who live special needs. Yet, wouldn’t it be better if people who actually lived with them play those roles? To me, I feel that Hollywood pretty much uses such lives to create more income in the box office or small screen. Besides, since people usually “learn everything about people” via movies and television, shouldn’t we just use real people, with real disabilities on small and silver screen? According to an article done by the Ruderman Family Foundation,  it was discovered 95% of characters with disabilities are placed by able-bodied actors. I mean… I never thought R.J. Mitte actually lived with cerebral palsy until I looked it up (while I was binge watching Breaking Bad this year). And in his own right he is great actor. I wish Hollywood would give more individuals with special needs more opportunities. By providing such opportunities, not only will viewers be able to see an actor with special needs act, but audiences will know more about the special need population and reduce the stigma who live special needs around the nation and the world. And in addition, it will help individuals with specials needs and or their family and loved ones recognize the amazing abilities that lie within them.

The time for the presentations will be from:

11:00 am – 12:30 pm PST: Inclusion In Front Of The Camera
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm PST: Inclusion Behind The Camera

Among the panelist attending will be:


R.J. Mitte (actor; Breaking Bad)



Orlando Jones (Actor, Writer, and Producer; Sleepy Hollow)


Marlee Matlin (actor, Oscar-winner for Best Actress in a Leading Role-Children of a Lesser God, Switched at Birth)


Scott Silveri (Producer, Writer-Friends, Speechless)

If you would like more information on Hollywood and Special Needs, click on the links below:

Rudderman Studio-Wide Roundtable on Disability Inclusion 

The Rudderman White Paper: Disability in Television

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