[NABS-L] Blind Americans Are Protesting The Refusal of The Entertainment Industry To Cast Them – The Blind Advocate Blog
armando at theblindadvocate.com
Tue Mar 26 17:28:29 UTC 2019
I wrote this post on my blog.
Blind Americans Are Protesting The Refusal of The Entertainment Industry To Cast Them
Webmaster March 25, 2019 Edit
Updated: 1:10 PM, March 26, 2019
Update: The National Federation of the Blind is holding a social media protest on Wednesday, May 27, 2019 between 12:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please stay tuned for updates.
Blind Americans all across the United States are protesting the refusal of the entertainment industry to cast them as blind actors. This is due to an upcoming series called “In The Dark,” in which it airs on April 4, 2019 on the CW. This series features a blind character, in which it is played by a sighted actor. Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, (NFB), has released a statement on a press release as follows:
“The entertainment industry has produced dozens of movies and TV shows portraying blind characters, usually offensively or inaccurately, and not even one of them has featured a blind actor in a recurring lead role. If blind people are included, they play supporting roles, and sometimes there is a single blind writer or consultant. If organizations like the National Federation of the Blind are consulted at all, the consultation occurs after production, and the producers seek validation rather than collaboration. The forthcoming midseason replacement series ‘In the Dark’ is no different. Its producers sought to justify their exclusion of a blind actor from the leading role in a session full of excuses at a recent conference. These excuses were inadequate and needlessly dismissive of blind actors. We have had enough! There are blind actors looking for work, and no sighted actor, however accomplished or talented, can bring the same insight and authenticity to a blind character. Sighted actors receiving attention and awards for portraying blind people is itself deeply offensive. We, and our lives, are not Oscar or Emmy bait. If the entertainment industry and the viewing public are interested in learning about us, that is well and good. But we will define how we are portrayed by taking our rightful place on America’s movie and TV screens.
“We demand that the CW network and the producers of ‘In the Dark’ withdraw the finished episodes and re-shoot them with a blind actor in the starring role. If this demand is not met, we call upon all advertisers involved with the program to withdraw their sponsorship and urge all Americans to join us in enjoying other viewing options if the show airs. Furthermore, the National Federation of the Blind will not endorse or collaborate on any scripted film or TV series with a blind character if its producers do not develop a substantive plan to cast a blind actor. Finally, we will actively oppose and boycott any project where no such plan is in place. We invite the entertainment industry to work proactively with us to identify and develop the talent of blind actors rather than focusing on casting sighted actors under cover of the spurious claim that blind talent cannot be found. The shameful history of Hollywood defining us without our participation ends now.”
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Email: armando at theblindadvocate.com
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"WE ARE THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, AND WE CANNOT BE SHUT DOWN!"
-Mark A. Riccobono
"The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back. Together, with love, hope, and determination, we transform dreams into reality."
Are you a blind student? Visit this website to learn about the National Association of Blind Students, (NABS), a division of the National Federation of the Blind.
To find your student division, visit https://nabslink.org/content/contact-our-state-divisions
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