Monday, January 26, 2015

Sundance panel urges equality for people with disabilities in entertainment industry

From KUTV in Utah:

A special panel at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday urged equality for disabled people in the entertainment industry.

Several Hollywood stars, including R.J. Mitte of "Breaking Bad," who has cerebral palsy, Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy, and TV personality Montel Williams attended the event.

“What Hollywood should be doing right now is reflecting society. It’s great that is a good story, but in bedrooms and houses across the country there are so many people who don’t see anybody who looks like them,” Williams said.

Speakers discussed the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in media. Shriners Hospital for Children sponsored the event and claimed that of the 800 roles on TV shows, only 11 went to actors with disabilities.

Speakers at the event encouraged anyone with a disability not to be afraid to pursue their dreams.

“Don’t stop dreaming and believing. Whether you want to become an actor or be in the entertainment industry, or do anything else in life…just because of what has happened to you doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish that. You will do it differently than another person, but you can still do it,” actor J.R. Martinez said.