Octavia Spencer: Cast more actors with disabilities

BOSTON (AP) —

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer says Hollywood needs to do better casting people with disabilities.

The star of “The Help” and “Hidden Figures” is part of a new video campaign timed with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this month.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” she says in the nearly three-minute clip.

Spencer argues that the industry needs to recognize that “nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation.” She also notes how the entertainment industry has been notoriously slow at embracing diversity.

“It’s only been a few decades since white actors would portray Black, Asian and even Native American characters on screen,” Spencer says. ”There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

The campaign was launched by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a Boston-based organization that advocates for people with disabilities.

The foundation earlier this year issued an open letter to the entertainment industry making a similar plea that was signed by George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston, Mark Ruffalo, Glenn Close, Eva Longoria and other prominent names in Hollywood.

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