A study from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has revealed that among the 587 series fall’s primetime television schedule, just six characters have disabilities. And of those six, just one is actually portrayed by a disabled actor, reports Backstage.
These stats refer to the regularly appearing characters and actors on the 587 primetime series, the story says.
This year marks the first time GLAAD has also counted the number of people with disabilities on TV,according to the article.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that people with identified disabilities comprise 12% of the U.S. population, although prime-time TV represents just 1% of its population as disabled.
Robert David Hall, who plays Dr. Al Robbins on "CSI," is the one disabled actor on primetime TV playing a disabled series regular, the story says, noting that Hall lost both his legs after his car was hit by a truck in 1978.
Hall tells Backstage that many activists have mixed feelings about nondisabled actors playing disabled parts, such as Hugh Laurie, who plays the title character on "House" who happens to walk with a cane. "I love him and I’m glad to see a character—this is me speaking personally—with a disability portrayed. But to some of the more active members in our group, it’s similar to saying, ‘What do you think of that Caucasian actor playing the role of the African-American guy?’," Hall says, according to the article.