US media company NBCUniversal said on Saturday it would give more opportunities to actors with disabilities. Now every audition list must include actors with disabilities for a new series or movie.
The stakeholder interest group (ACT) welcomes this news.
This commitment follows a call from an American disability advocacy organization, the Ruderman Family Foundation. This organization fights for more visibility of people with disabilities in society.
“In the Netherlands too, there is still little visibility for actors with disabilities,” says Thomas Cammaert, actor and member of ACT’s inclusiveness committee. “They have few opportunities in the theater world and there is still a lot to be gained from it.”
The exact figures for the number of disabled actors working in the Netherlands are unknown, according to ACT. “Except there are very few of them. And do they only have characters who also have a disability or are they allowed to play something else?” This is also an important point, according to ACT. “Everyone should be able to be auditioned, regardless of color, sexuality, gender and disability.”
“ If Videoland and NPO also send such a signal, it can mean a lot ”
NBCUniversal’s promise gives Cammaert hope. “It helps in our conversations to draw more and more attention to inclusiveness.” According to ACT, it is now hoped that the main media players in the Netherlands will continue to speak out. “Who pays decides. So if a Videoland, RTL or NPO also sends such a signal, it can mean a lot.”
A spokesperson for the NPO says inclusiveness and diversity are encouraged within the organization. “These are very important criteria for program proposals. But we are not working with something like a quota.” Hiring NBCUniversal is a good idea, according to the NPO, but things are organized differently in the Netherlands. According to the NPO spokesperson, the responsibility for giving a greater chance to actors with disabilities also falls on broadcasters. “At the end of the day, each broadcaster must also pick up this signal themselves.” RTL was not yet available for comment on Saturday.
NBCUniversal is the second major media company in the United States committed to providing more opportunities for actors with disabilities. In 2019, CBS Entertainment had already made the same commitment.
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