Few Performers With Disabilities Get Acting Jobs, Study
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 27, 2005
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--A survey by the nation's largest labor union that represents actors has revealed that many actors with disabilities have faced employment-related discrimination, but that most avoid asking for simple accommodations under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
The study, which was commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild, involved focus groups and surveys from 496 SAG members with disabilities.
An executive summary of the study, published Tuesday, revealed that 36 percent of the performers with disabilities had encountered some form of workplace discrimination, including not being cast or being granted an audition because of a disability. And while more than 33 percent indicated that a reasonable accommodation would have helped them in their work, 60 percent never asked for one because they feared employers would not hire them.
For those and other reasons, performers with disabilities worked an average of just 4.1 days a year. Meanwhile, less than two percent of TV characters display a disability, even though 20 percent of the general population has a disability.
"We have far to go to achieve true equality of opportunity," Robert David Hall, who plays Dr. Al Robbins on 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation', said in a SAG press release.
Hall lost both legs in a 1978 car accident. His character uses crutches and a wheelchair.
"The images we see and the stories we tell say a lot about our society," he said. "We are part of the story."
"Study: Disabled actors not represented in films, TV shows" (USA Today)
Executive Summary: The Employment of Performers with Disabilities in the Entertainment Industry (Screen Actors Guild)