Octavia Spencer Wants More Authentic Disabled Stories as She Implores Fairer Hollywood Castings
Although the movie industry is taking a breather during the global pandemic, Octavia Spencer isn’t letting diversity take a backseat as she calls for greater visibility of disabled performers.
The Hidden Figures star spotlighted the shortcomings of producers in a recent campaign video for the Ruderman Family Foundation. She expressed how “casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.” Spencer’s comments drew an important distinction between casting and authentic story-telling as she urged producers to “do better” in presenting more on-screen disabled opportunities in Hollywood.
While there are growing numbers of disabled storylines, Spencer’s words are a pressing reminder of the continued action we need to pursue to advance all dimensions of diversity. The Oscar-winner has previously opened up about the difficulties of being acknowledged for roles as a dyslexic actress, her frank discussions inspiring others to share their experiences of adversity.
This is amazing. Being a disabled person myself I’ve always would of loved to see people on screen that are like me. They are few and very far between. Loved to see more activism in this cause
— Alicia Fortner-TeamStone !!!✈️🍨❄️🍓🌮 (@Aliciadfortner) July 27, 2020
Her latest stand against discrimination has been amplified through her collaborative work with Ruderman. They’re a philanthropic institution driving greater inclusion of disabled children in social and learning environments, especially within Jewish communities. While Spencer’s message of inclusivity is timeless, it’s particularly profound at the moment since it coincides with the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
There’s an amazing array of disabled talent out there, so why not help give the stage to the disabled community by checking out their on-screen stories. You can also show your support for the cause by familiarizing yourself with the work of charities like Ruderman, which you can read here.