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.’

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