Washington [US], January 31 (ANI): In an effort to increase and improve disability representation on screen, American mass media and entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal has announced that it will be auditioning actors with disabilities for each new studio production.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this pledge by the company comes in response to a standing request by the disability advocacy organisation Ruderman Family Foundation, which secured a similar commitment from CBS Entertainment, back in 2019. Projects from the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, the Universal Studio Group, NBC, and Peacock are included in the studio's pledge.
Janine Jones-Clark, an executive vice president of inclusion for film, TV, and streaming at NBCUniversal, said in a statement that "NBCUniversal remains committed to creating content that authentically reflects the world we live in and increasing opportunities for those with disabilities is an integral part of that."
He added, "We are proud to join the Ruderman Family Foundation pledge as calls to action like theirs are important and hold the industry accountable for the work we still need to do in order to see systemic change."
Recent studies released by the foundation showed that only 22 per cent of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television and that about 80 per cent of TV characters with disabilities are played by non-disabled actors.
As per People magazine, though NBC's pledge does not include any hiring goals, Eileen Grubba, who is an actor and disability activist, said that even the mere chance at auditions represents a significant step. Grubba, who herself uses a leg brace due to childhood spinal cord damage, has appeared on NBC's drama series 'New Amsterdam'. (ANI)