A week before Vertical Entertainment is set to release Blind, starring Alec Baldwin as a man who loses his sight in a car crash, disability advocates are blasting the film for its choice of leading man.
The Ruderman Family Foundation, an organization advocating on behalf of disabled people, “expressed its disappointment in the casting of Alec Baldwin for the leading role of blind man Bill Oakland in the new film, Blind, set to be released later this month, once again overlooking the opportunity to cast actors with disabilities,” a statement on Facebook reads.
Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation, explained to The Los Angeles Times, “Alec Baldwin in Blind is just the latest example of treating disability as a costume. We no longer find it acceptable for white actors to portray black characters. Disability as a costume needs to also become universally unacceptable.”
Baldwin plays Bill Oakland, a man who lost his sight and wife in a car crash. Five years later, he meets a socialite, Suzanne Dutchman (Demi Moore), who’s forced to read to him as part of a plea agreement for her association with her husband’s (Dylan McDermott) insider trading. A love affair forms from their blossoming relationship and Suzanne must choose between Bill or her husband.
Last year, the Runderman organization released a study that determined more than 95 percent of disabled characters on television are played by able bodied actors.
“This is nothing short of a social justice issue where a marginalized group of people is not given the right to self-representation,” the findings read. “We must change this inequality through more inclusive casting, through the use of Computer Graphics (CG) to create ability, through the media holding the industry responsible, through the avoidance of stereotypical stories, and ultimately through the telling of stories that depict people with disabilities without focusing on the disability. We also provide a list of resources where actors with disabilities can be proactively reached.”
Blind will be released on July 14.