This past month, CBS became the first television network to accept the Ruderman Family Foundation’s entertainment industry-wide challenge to commit to auditioning actors with disabilities for each new production going forward. According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS will now audition performers with disabilities for each of its new projects that gets a series pickup.
Currently, NBC, Fox, ABC and the CW and have not yet stepped up to the plate to follow suit. Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation, remarked in a statement, “It is our hope that other major media companies will follow CBS’s lead and foster opportunities that will lead to more authentic representation of people with disabilities in popular entertainment. Enhanced visibility of disability onscreen will help reduce stigmas people with disabilities face in everyday life.”
The Ruderman Foundation’s pledge reads as follows:
We recognize that disability is central to diversity, that the disability community comprises the largest minority in our nation, and that people with disabilities face seclusion from the entertainment industry.
We understand that increasing auditions, no matter the size of the role, is a critical step toward achieving inclusion in the industry.
This studio pledges to increase the number of actors and actresses with disabilities who audition for parts on television and in film.