Faking A Minority Is Okay In Hollywood

Image isn’t everything but in today’s extremely fast paced world where high tech devices bring us tons of images by accessing the internet, downloading and watching entire movies or television shows right in the palm of our hands while traveling through time & space in planes, trains, and automobiles, or while relaxing on a remote sandy beach – images are extremely effective in capturing and holding our attention. And the images in our movies and television play a significant part in our culture and shaping our opinions as much in the 21st century, if not more than those of the past several decades!

I have often remarked on the racial and gender minority stereotypes and misrepresentations being broken and changed forever with the films in the 1960’s starring Sidney Poitier in strong, non-stereotypical roles, and those of women breaking stereotypes that were very common even in the 1970’s! And I am not alone in this comparison to that of the stereotypes and discrimination of those with a disAbility.

“In the same way that the Black Power movement in the ’70s insisted on the unique power and beauty of African Americans, or the woman’s movement empowered women to expose stereotypes and tell their own stories, the disability rights movement and ‘crip culture’ are challenging our preconceptions about what it is to be human.”

Playwright Kathleen Tolan, American Theater magazine – “We Are Not a Metaphor (April 2001)”

Sure the Hollywood stereotypes and discrimination of blacks and women where broken during the times that also had the civil rights movements led by Martin Luther King and the ERA advocates, but where was Hollywood during the disAbility civil rights movement that kind of culminated with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990? Hollywood was and remains today – on the brink of the 20th Anniversary of the ADA signing into law — silent in our basic human rights to represent ourselves. In fact, they have also looked the other way and continue to not only ignore the inclusion of people with disAbilities, but on the rare occasion they do have a character with a disAbility in a movie or television program it is often stereotyped and nearly always discriminated by having “others” not of the disAbility minority portray and represent those with a disAbility. And this continues today – 20 years after the major disability civil rights movements marched on the steps of Washington D.C.

Is this the right way or wrong way to treat those with a disAbility?

Nearly every time an able bodied actor is hired/employed as a character with paralysis or another disAbility what they are saying is that the paralysis/disAbility is not that important so therefore anybody can represent that they have that disAbility. That it is no more significant than the regional or international accent of the character – or no more significant than the person’s profession. Really? Paralysis is no more important than the character’s career as a sales accountant, project manager, a chef, a cosmetic counter clerk, etc.? Sometimes this kind of fake representation – pretending to be paralyzed – is saying we recognize that it may be important to those of you living with paralysis, but not to the rest of us, so too bad! And this is not just an occasional practice in American movies and television – it is nearly every time!

But I am not just here preaching about this issue and pointing out that it is bad to “fake” someone’s disAbility minority status and what kind of impact that has directly and indirectly on those living with a disAbility. I practice what I preach and I am a paraplegic filmmaker ready to go into production with a very commercially viable film project that will prove what kind of exciting entertainment an authentic voice and vision from a paraplegic screenwriter and director (yours truly) can make with an authentic performance from an actor who is a paraplegic (not yet cast/hired/employed) to authentically portray a non-stereotypical character with a disAbility who is a fascinating man, a homicide police detective, a widower, a father who wrestles with his own demons that haunts his sleep with the nightmares reliving the night a drunk driver smashed into his car killing his wife and young daughter while leaving him paralyzed nearly 10 years ago, a man committed to healing others by finding the suspects of injustice even though his own healing seems like it will never come, a man who says what is on his mind and doesn’t care about being all that politically correct, a man who will do whatever it takes to capture the guilty, a good guy who is a badass, a man who finally allows someone in – an old friend, Marci Waters whom he is reunited with personally, professionally and romantically which at his most vulnerable moment is the one who finally helps him fight off his demons, he may or may not be “the most interesting man in the world”, but he is Detective London, and everyone and everything in his world, runs on “London Time”!

London_Time_Poster_med-small2

Unfortunately, there are more obstacles and challenges than the typical filmmaker trying to get Hollywood’s attention and support with financial support and distribution commitments because of the common practices toward those with a disAbility.

Some say it is all about the accessibility, casting who is the “best for the part”, or “that’s just how it’s always been done”, that nobody cares, and a handful of other reasons why it is okay for an able bodied actor to portray and represent paraplegics and those with a disAbility in general, in movies and television – but regardless of any of these reasons or excuses, the bottom line is that it is all about basic human respect and dignity. Period.

And if I were to ask if it is important that people of all races, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation be portrayed and represented with respect and dignity everyone, but the extremist of our society, would say, “Yes.” And if I were to add paraplegics and others with a disAbility into the equation every one of them would probably also say, “Yes.” But the difference comes in the actual application of that portrayal and representation.  

Over the past decade and in dozens of different ways, examples, and descriptions I have explained all the:

reasons,

implications,

impact,

excuses,

legalities

social ramifications,

the facts of what is and what can be,

of using able bodied actors, writers, directors to portray and represent those with a disAbility – and not just once in a while but NEVER allowing those with a disAbility to represent themselves unless:

it cannot be easily faked by an able bodied actor AND it is only a small role – NEVER a leading role!

The bottom line is that dismissing authentic representation by the disAbility minority is just as disrespectful as it is by misrepresenting and “faking” any other minority status. There is already a huge stigma surrounding those with a disAbility, especially ones that cannot be hidden, such as paralysis, but to virtually be ignored and rarely included as a character in movies and television does not help! And if ignoring us wasn’t enough, whenever we do get to be included it is nearly always portrayed by someone else – someone who has no idea what it is like:

 

living as a member of the disAbility minority – to live with:

the physical,

economical,

emotional,

social, and

environmental challenges,

 

all of which contribute to our:

daily existence,

our personal identity,

and being a member of disability minority community! 

Living as a paraplegic or with another significant disAbility – is a lot more than just rolling around in a wheelchair! Even if an able bodied actor can plop down in a wheelchair and “fake” being a paraplegic or another disAbility – can you see how this could be offensive to those who live life with all the added challenges associated with a disAbility – that an able bodied person thinks they can pretend all of this and then portray and represent those of us who live everyday of our lives with a disAbility?

What does this virtual ignoring and then misrepresentation by faking a minority status by Hollywood portrayal and representation mean on the surface and between the lines? This actually has a lot of impact and in many different aspects of how others see us, treat us, and interact with those of us with a disAbility. It really is all about giving those with a disAbility basic human rights, respect and dignity by having our own voice, vision and representation – and without it or by always having others represent the disAbility minority, such as is extremely common with able bodied actors as paraplegic characters, you are rejecting, denying, demeaning and sometimes even laughing at the basic human rights to self-represent, respect and dignity of those with a disAbility.

Discrimination Disguised as “Being Best For The Part”!

First of all, I want to applaud and thank producers, writers, directors, and studios for including a few more characters with a disAbility in your movies and television programs! Since this is the 21st century and this representation is far behind where it should be, we now need to take a closer look at these characters, stories, and the common stereotypes and discrimination nearly always associated with the Hollywood inclusion of those with a disAbility.

Twenty years ago “faking” a disAbility was rarely challenged but now that those with a disAbility have proven that they can do all kinds of activities from living independently to extreme sports AND are protesting the outrageous stereotypes and discrimination of casting able bodied in roles that are specifically written as characters with a disAbility – we are often hearing the Hollywood legal loophole excuse, “we hired the best person for the part.”

The Hollywood Cups

You know the street con artist game of finding which cup has the ball in it? Well, although that seems what Hollywood likes to play with those with a disAbility, I suggest we play a more simple game. Let’s all play the Great Switcheroo Game!

The rules are simple, everyone is created equal and to keep it simple, let’s use some common sense when it comes to minorities and be sure we do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, as outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission!

To play the game we have to set it up beginning with one of the only television shows that have a paraplegic character – the hit Fox Television show “Glee”. Again thank you “Glee” creators and Fox Television for included a paraplegic character in a show…that is all about diverse characters! At least you recognize that we deserve to be included as a diverse group when many in the biz won’t even accept that we are a minority! But when controversy over the casting of an able bodied actor in the role of a paraplegic – a person with a disAbility that could be realistically represented by an actor with the same or similar disAbility, these same creators and executive producers quickly responded with the Hollywood legal loophole excuse that they employed the actor they felt was “the best for the part.” So you recognize that we are a minority group – a part of a diversity ensemble – but unlike all other minorities – we cannot represent ourselves? Because the actors who are paraplegics that you auditioned cannot act, sing, or dance in their wheelchair as well as an able bodied actor? Therefore, we are not best for the part?

I am a paraplegic, and most would agree that being paralyzed is a significant factor in life. I talked about in a little more detail in the previous blog entry, “Cut Them Off At The Pass ”. Now it is time for those who are able bodied to raise your hand if you would like to trade places with a paraplegic or another person with a significant disAbility! Anybody want to Switcheroo with me? Hello? Just raise your hand up high. Anybody? I guess not. In fact many say that they would rather be dead then have to live a life with a significant disAbility. So I suspect that most would rather trade their race, age, or gender, than trading their being able bodied, even with imperfections, than to become paralyzed or have any other significant disAbility. With that in mind, I think you can see why this disAbility factor is as significant to my identity as is my age, race, gender, and sexual orientation, and can also see why I can be offended when some able bodied person “acts” like a paraplegic! Especially when there are many paraplegics who are actors or want to become actors! Look at the attempt by the “Glee” producers to quiet the disAbled community’s protest by finding one of those actors, Zack Weinstein! But it was only as a guest spot for one episode. If this were because they were really concerned how those with a disAbility felt, the character of Artie Abrams would be moving out of the school district and Zack’s character would be moving in!

So since even journalists covering the “Glee” success interviewing cast and the creators of the show barely glaze over the fact that this minority portrayal is being represented by someone who isn’t even a member of the same minority, and even actor Kevin McHale responds at the controversy by saying he only auditioned for the part and that the producers hired him because they felt he “was the best for the part”, then if that is sufficient for casting in a role, it is also sufficient for playing…

The Great Switcheroo Game!

Okay, remember the rules are we do not discriminate against anyone AND the goal – to win the game we have to cast/hire/employ the best actor for the part! The first player is asked the question, “What if the proposed biopic for Oprah Winfrey based on Kitty Kelley’s tell-all biography is produced and the best actress to portray Oprah was an actress who was talented, great acting skills, a total professional, looked amazingly like Oprah, had her mannerism down, sounded a lot like the talk show queen, and blew away the director and producers, but that the actress is disAbled and uses a wheelchair. Does this matter?”

Oprah-wheelchair-2

The follow up question is “How about if the disAbility isn’t as dramatic and she doesn’t get around as fast as she would using a wheelchair, but at least she is standing, walking slowly, with a limp and uses a cane?”

Oprah-Cane

She is “best for the part” – except for that little detail that this actor has a disAbility which is a significant identity factor she is perfect for the role! And the rule is that you hire who is “best for the part”! Remember that most do not think it is a big deal who represents having a disAbility – so it works both ways!

Is that ok with you? Or is there a double standard? Oh, wait, I do remember now that we established that having a disAbility is a significant factor, one that is very much related to a person’s identity, and that most able bodied people would never trade their able body for a disAbled body.

Having a disAbility is as significant as a person’s race, gender, and age. And by definition and in most industries disAbility is a minority status. And so what if another minority status was “faked” or in this case – in keeping with the Great Switcheroo Game – here is when Gawker.com merely suggested that the “best person for the part” because of his enormous talent at acting, singing, dancing, that actor Jamie Foxx should be considered to play the part of Frank Sinatra in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biopic of the late, great crooner!

Foxx-Sinatra

Other entertainment sites and bloggers picked up on it and immediately it became a funny suggestion into industry insiders’ saying Jamie Foxx would be perfect for Frank Sinatra role! Foxx is incredibly talented and technically speaking – as Hollywood likes to do – they are both members of a minority – African-American representing an Italian-American! Does portraying and representing a minority have to be specific?

People commenting on the reports of Foxx being considered for the role of Sinatra were outraged! Others thought it was completely hilarious and some said it was just as it was – a misunderstanding that turned into a hoax as Gawker.com announced shortly thereafter!

Does this kind of ridiculous portrayal and representation of a minority only extend to race? This kind of outrage is exactly what I feel when any able bodied actor is cast into a paraplegic role! There are some exceptions that I have spoke of before, like that of the John Locke character on the television series “Lost” on a very mysterious island that has super natural powers and the character is able bodied an overwhelming amount of the screen time, BUT in MOST movie and television roles some things should not, and really cannot be “faked”! And that would be any minority status that was a significant factor in a person’s identity!

I can tell you that if there was a biopic about Christopher Reeve that focused on his life after his accident and some able bodied actor was cast in the role of the high spinal cord injury of Reeve I would be just as outraged!

Clooney-Reeve

Actually I would be even more outraged – I would be all over it! Yet it is the same with any character who is a paraplegic being portrayed and represented by an able bodied actor. And to be sure we understand the difference that I am speaking of here is another picture – a wide shot of the two actors!

Clooney-Reeve-WS-text

Of course this is a speculation and could be one of many different able bodied actors and not just George Clooney whose representation of a person with paraplegia would make me lose my mind!

It Is Not A Choice & You CANNOT Fake It!

Race is not a choice. Gender, age, is not a choice, and whether you are born with or acquire it later in life through disease, illness, or injury, disAbility is not a choice. Hollywood should not be treating it as a choice and instead give disAbility portrayals and representations the same respect. That is what this is all about – respect and dignity – and it is who is “best for the part” so long as it is dealt with the same respect and parameters as all other minorities!

“GLEE” Says IT IS OFFENSIVE AND WRONG FOR PEOPLE TO FAKE HAVING A DISABILITY!

Despite the “Glee” creators and producers using the “best for the part” excuse (a.k.a. – the Hollywood legal loophole in the Equal Employment Opportunity discrimination laws) they apparently understand this is not something you can fake! Did I say that right? They understand that faking it is wrong and offensive to those with a disAbility?

In the episode’ “Wheels” Artie the wheelchair user is disappointed when on a date with fellow Glee club classmate, Tina with whom he has had a crush on and after she kisses him says:

“I have to tell you something. I’ve been faking it.” Artie asks, “Faking what?” Tina confesses, “I don’t have a stutter. I pretended to have one in the 6th grade because I didn’t want to give a speech on the Missouri Compromise. I was really shy and it made people think I was real weird. So they left me alone. And it wasn’t until Glee club did I realize how much I was missing. And I don’t want to push people away any more. You understand what that’s like, don’t you?” Artie bows his head and then raises it to respond. “No, I don’t. I would never try and push people away because just being in a chair does that for ya. I thought we had something really important in common.” Artie rolls away. Tina stands up and apologizes, “Wait, Artie, I’m sorry.” Artie stops and turns around to face her. “I am too. I’m sorry you get to be normal and I get to be stuck in this chair the rest of my life and that’s not something I can fake.” Artie then turns back around and rolls away.

He rolled away from the girl and possible relationship which for a character like his, who is a geek and a full-time wheelchair user means his chances with girls are greatly diminished and yet this factor of her “faking a disAbility” was so serious that he threw away his best opportunity for a relationship with a beautiful girl.

WOW! Ryan Murphy and the other writers – they “get it”! Now, did they “get it” while writing this the 9th episode of the series, or did they know this all along? I suspect it is the former otherwise they are the kings of the proverbial “do what I say and not as I do” because if they got it before the series started – we would not be having this “best for the part” & the “respect and dignity” discussion. Well that is half the problem – it is not a discussion – nobody in Hollywood wants to have an honest and open discussion on this issue – so it is more like me talking.

Glee says it is offensive to those with a disAbility for anyone faking a disAbility – with an actor, Kevin McHale who is faking a disAbility. And that is okay? Wow, so it is okay to preach what you know is wrong all the while you are doing the exact wrong you’re preaching about! (And this episode isn’t done with the “faking” a disAbility yet – Wait, I will get to it in a moment below!)

If I had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Ryan Murphy I would ask him when he realized this and if not before or when writing this episode, then what was it like for him, the other writers, the actor Kevin McHale when they were filming this scene? Did they or any of the cast and crew watching the filming of this scene recognize what hypocrites they were being?

I will repeat from my original blog entry on “Glee is Everything to Everyone ” and say it is incredibly hypocritical to say it is okay for the “character” to portray the fact that it was wrong and made him very upset that another “character” was faking a disAbility, but that it is okay for the actor portraying this upset “character who has a real disAbility” is FAKING the disAbility! WHAT THE HELL? So it is okay for a person faking a disAbility to say it is not okay to fake a disAbility – and everyone will applaud! Oh, wait, many of the comments that I read from fans of the show where wondering what was going to happen between Artie and Tina and couldn’t understand why he reacted the way that he did. REALLY? Do you think they might have understood or at the very least would not question such as realistic response – IF THE ACTOR PORTRAYING A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY WAS REALLY A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY?

And am I wrong for being as angry and upset as the “character” was in the “story” about someone pretending – someone representing that they have a disAbility when they don’t? I am even more upset because this is real – they are broadcasting into the homes of millions of families here in America and around the world – preaching how it is disrespectful to pretend, to fake having a disAbility but the actor can do it. What kind of message is that giving all the audiences about those with a disAbility and especially into the living rooms of 25% of all American households where at least one person really lives with a disAbility and REALLY CANNOT “FAKE IT” as Artie says he can’t even though the actor portraying and representing him can and does FAKE IT?

So Mr. Ryan Murphy (who has just resigned a deal with Fox which will bring him near $40 million) and your other co-creators and co-writers, and actor Kevin McHale – when did you realize your hypocracy? Was this realization and the protests from disAbility groups, bloggers, and activists prompt you to cast/hire/employ the actor really living with paralysis, Zack Weinstein for the small one-time part – in an attempt to make it right? Do you think it is right now and you have no more obligation to the disAbled minority community?

 Gems Throughout This “Wheels” Episode

This whole episode had a lot of wonderful points that dealt with the issues those with a disAbility go through – but the “not practicing what you are preaching”, this hypocrisy is really hard to overcome. Like when the Glee teacher, Mr. Will Schuester apologizes to Artie that the Glee club members all treated him like they had, Artie responds with saying, “Ah, that’s okay. They just don’t get it.” REALLY? AND I SUPPOSE YOU DO?

And

When the students are leaving the Glee club room while in wheelchairs that Glee teacher Mr. Schuester had put all of them in to understand how Artie feels, and one of them bumps into another student, Artie says, “Respect the chair.”  REALLY AGAIN? Then I want to ask, “WHEN WILL YOU RESPECT THE CHARACTER – THE DISABILITY – AND THE PEOPLE LIVING WITH PARALYSIS?”

And

This episode also deals with another disAbility and not just the paraplegia that Artie lives with. Sue Sylvester is the cheerleading squad’s teacher and has earlier accepted a new cheerleader, Becky Jackson who has the disAbility of Down syndrome, and while working with her in a personal practice with Becky Jackson who is jumping rope, Sue rides her pretty hard. Mr. Schuester is watching from the distance and after she dismisses the student Mr. Schuester gets on Sue Sylvester saying “she isn’t like everyone else”. Sue Sylvester responds, “I want you to listen to what you just said, William. You want me to treat her differently because she has a disAbility when it seems to me she wants to be treated like everyone else.” EXACTLY! Treat us with a disAbility like you treat all other minorities, people, sub-groups in your show – AUTHENTICALLY! Oh, wait, you did with this character of Becky Jackson who was portrayed and represented by actress, Lauren Potter who herself does live with Down syndrome! And in this episode we find out the reason why Sue Sylvester has a special affinity for the Becky student over others who auditioned – is because her older sister, Jean Sylvester has the same disAbility and is portrayed by actress, Robin Trocki, who also lives in real life with Down syndrome!

WOW! SO SOME DISABILITIES ARE TREATED WITH RESPECT & DIGNITY AND OTHERS ARE NOT?

OR

IS IT JUST TOO DIFFICULT AND OBVIOUS WHEN FAKING A DISABILITY LIKE DOWN SYNDROME

AND

EASY TO FAKE PARAPLEGIA?

AND

WHEN WILL YOU AGAIN – PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH – BY TREATING ACTORS WITH PARALYSIS LIKE ALL OTHER ACTORS OF A MINORITY GROUP?

AND FINALLY –

WOW, CHECK THIS OUT! REMEMBER THAT “GLEE” SAID THROUGH THE ARTIE CHARACTER THAT IT IS OFFENSIVE TO THOSE WHO CANNOT FAKE A DISABILITY FOR ANYONE TO FAKE A DISABILITY!

Glee student character, Rachel Berry figures out a way to help fellow Glee classmate, Finn Hudson by having him “fake” being disAbled and continue using the wheelchair he was required to use in class, as they go into a place of business (I cannot make it out – a small restaurant or a “ma and pa” type retail store), and Rachel immediately says to an employee;

“Excuse me. Are you the manager?” The man says yes and she continues, “You need to hire my friend Finn. He’s clearly handicapable and refusing to hire him can be seen as discrimination. My dad is (and after many times of rewinding and re-watching this segment I do not know what she is saying that her dad does, but concludes…) and unless you want the full force of the American Civil Liberties Union coming down on you, I’d work something out.”

He gets the job as he tells other students that he has to use the wheelchair while he is at work but at least he got a job! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

So let’s get this straight! According to “Glee” producers, creators, writers, actors, and the FOX Broadcasting network:

  • it is okay to cast/hire/employ an able bodied actor to “fake” minority status if that is a disAbility minority – Meanwhile that same character with a disAbility expresses how wrong it is for another character to “fake” a disAbility
  • while in the very same episode – it is okay to promote having another character who is able bodied “fake” being disAbled within the show to get a job in which they intimidated the employer with a discrimination lawsuit for him to get the job – regardless of his qualifications or the fact that he was faking the disAbility?

So all we have to do is threaten to sue with a discrimination lawsuit if they do not hire an actor who is a paraplegic and they will cast an authentic actor! Wow, where is the ACLU when it comes to Mr. Ryan Murphy, his co-conspirators, I mean co-creators, co-writers, co-producers, and the distributor, the exhibitor FOX Broadcasting network all who are making millions of dollars off this discrimination – especially when most of the “evidence” you will need to prosecute these guys with – they wrote, filmed and broadcasted in this episode! In any other industry they clearly hung themselves! But in Hollywood they KNOW THEY WILL GET AWAY WITH IT – they are so confident that in addition to doing just the opposite  by discriminating against actors who are paraplegics BUT they will make an episode like this where a character will fake it and threaten to sue for discrimination if he is not hired. Perfect example of how Hollywood will exploit the system to get away with discrimination, while blatantly ignoring the law, at the same time will broadcast that what they are doing is wrong – for everyone else! None of this applies to them and they can make millions and millions of dollars while doing it and it is okay for them to do all of this while they laugh at disrespecting the basic human respect and dignity of those with a disAbility. And if anyone objects or makes some noise – they will claim they are doing good – they are all about diversity and include a paraplegic character so therefore those with a disAbility should be grateful not critical. And they will get away with it because most of the audience doesn’t care – they just want to know will Artie and Tina ever kiss again!

To Summarize:

It is incredible that Glee can correctly portray how offensive it is to those with a disAbility – which may I remind you we are the largest & fastest growing minority in the country with 56+ million Americans – for anyone to fake having a disAbility and being a part of this minority community – while at the very same time they are faking it on both sides of the camera – with an actor faking he has a disAbility to portray a character with a disAbility – and another character who is clearly able bodied on the show faking he has a disAbility!

In “Glee” and throughout Hollywood – Not all people are created equal – not all minorities are created equal – and obviously not all disAbilities are created equal.     

Hollywood Legal Loophole “Best For The Part”!

Yes, they will get away with all of this – the hypocrisy, the stereotypes, and the discrimination all the while waving their artistic legal loophole flag – AND not caring that this only works one way – there is no way they would hire some actor who clearly is “best for the part” if that actor has any visible disAbility.

So what is the answer? How do we change this common practice of stereotyping, discrimination, and now hypocrisy? We need to continue to voice our opinions and our outrage even after they give a small part to an authentic actor like Zack Weinstein and hope we all go away. We have to let everyone know that this is not about who is “best for the part” – it is about respect and dignity for the disAbility and all of those who live with it – so we can have our own voices and our own heroes – instead of those faking our voices and pretending to be our heroes. It is just like portraying and representing all other minorities, and is exactly as the producers, creators and writers said themselves in this “Glee” episode – it is wrong to fake it!

It is about right and wrong. They know it is wrong and they still do it! How do you feel about it? Tell me and others – right here as a comment on this blog below – or on the Abilities United website – or the place that referred you here!

Of course there are some exceptions as I spoke of before, for example the John Locke character in the television series “Lost”, but for the most part it is completely wrong – and it is certainly wrong with the Artie Abrams character on the television series “Glee”. So we have to counter this injustice by doing what is right – with authentic writers to be the authentic voice, authentic directors being the authentic vision, and authentic actors being the authentic performance – giving the movie or television program a completely authentic representation of paraplegics or another disAbility! In a television series like “Glee” made up of an ensemble cast of many characters, many belonging to a minority group, you can get away with an able bodied writer(s) since they proven they “get it” and even an able bodied director – BUT not an able bodied actor – anymore then you can get away with a white actor portraying racial minority character. I know all of this because this is what I have been working on as a paraplegic filmmaker for 15 years! And that is what “London Time” is all about! When the time comes and I finally have the funding secure, I will cast the best authentic actors for each part. One of them has a disAbility! Detective London is a paraplegic and I will cast who is “best for the part”. That will be an actor with the same or similar disAbility as the character! Just like I will hire a female actor for the female leading role of Marci Waters! I suspect that “London Time” will be very successful based on my research, development, projected production quality and marketing strategies, but even if it isn’t – it is the RIGHT THING TO DO! And hopefully “London Time” will be the beginning of the Hollywood change into giving those with a disAbility the same fair and equal opportunities to be cast/hired/employed as the EEOC says they must and the same basic human respect and dignity that they give all minorities in movies and television!

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One thought on “Faking A Minority Is Okay In Hollywood”

  1. Agreed. It is so difficult to locate actors with disabilities, though (a catch-22 for sure). Would you have the resources to put together a web portfolio of available actors who have disabilities? I have only been able to find a few. I am not casting a role, but I just found a website where you can play casting director for your favorite books. For the books I like that have disabled characters, I would love to put disabled actors in those roles, but they are very difficult to find. A resource of disabled actors would be a great thing to have.

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