New Film 'Blind' Criticized for Casting Alec Baldwin as a Person with a Disability


Disability advocates are criticizing the upcoming film ‘Blind’ for casting Alec Baldwin to play the role of a blind character.

The film, which is scheduled for release on July 14, follows Baldwin’s character, Bill Oakland, a novelist who loses his sight in a car crash. Oakland is later cared for by Suzanne Dutchman, played by Demi Moore, a socialite tasked with reading to him as part of a community service deal after her husband is indicted for insider trading.

“Alec Baldwin in Blind is just the latest example of treating disability as a costume,” Jay Ruderman, president of the disability rights group The Ruderman Family Foundation, said 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.”

“Blind” is far from the first movie to cast an able-bodied actor in a disabled role. Another new film, “Breathe,” stars Andrew Garfield, an able-bodied actor, as Robin Cavendish, one of the U.K.’s first disability advocates. Last year’s “Me Before You,” also starred an able-bodied actor, Sam Claflin, in the film’s leading role. 

In 2016, The Ruderman Family Foundation published a study which found that while nearly 20 percent of the country’s population lives with a disability, 95 percent of characters with disabilities are played by able-bodied actors.

While Baldwin himself is not blind, he did meet with blind men at The Lighthouse Guild, a healthcare center for the visually impaired, to prepare for the role.

Twitter users have joined Ruderman in speaking out against Baldwin’s casting in ‘Blind.’


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.