Boos for Alec Baldwin's Role as a Blind Man

Disability rights group likens portrayal to blackface
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2017 7:48 AM CDT

A disability rights organization that often takes Hollywood to task for casting able-bodied actors to play the physically challenged is slamming the upcoming movie Blind. The Ruderman Family Foundation faulted Alec Baldwin's portrayal as a novelist who loses his sight in a car crash, reports the Los Angeles Times. Calling the casting of a blind character by an able-bodied actor "crip-face," President Jay Ruderman draws a direct parallel to blackface. Baldwin's casting "is just the latest example of treating disability as a costume," he says in a statement. "We no longer find it acceptable for white actors to portray black characters. Disability as a costume needs to also become universally unacceptable." Neither Baldwin nor director Michael Mailer have commented.

Blind co-stars Demi Moore as a married socialite who falls for Baldwin after she begins reading to him as part of community service. Vertical Entertainment released the trailer Wednesday, notes Variety, and the film is set for release on July 14. Last July, the Ruderman foundation released a report showing that although disabled people comprise 20% of the US population, some 95% of disabled roles on TV go to able-bodied actors. Marlee Matlin later told a Ruderman-organized conference, "There is something wrong with this picture," she said, per the Times. "We as an industry keep talking about diversity … but, sadly, when we start speaking about diversity, disability seems to be left out far too often." (One very real struggle for Baldwin: Lyme disease.)

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