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Actor/Model and Deaf Activist Nyle DiMarco Joins in Launch of Historic “Hollywood Toolkit” to Help Industry Achieve Goals of Equitable Hiring & Authentic Representation of Disabilities



John Stodder, Tower26, (213) 393-42190 [email protected]


Actor/Model and Deaf Activist Nyle DiMarco Joins in Launch of Historic “Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit” to Help Industry Achieve Goals of Equitable Hiring & Authentic Representation of Disabilities
Nyle DiMarco sitting in a car

Nyle DiMarco

Reality TV Pioneer Jonathan Murray, RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Hollywood, Health & Society Director Kate Folb and California Endowment’s Jose Plaza to lead March 20 breakfast discussion about the path to inclusion of people with disabilities.

What: Official unveiling of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, a project of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization that fights stigma and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. Announcement of new partnership between RespectAbility and and Hollywood, Health & Society, a project of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center to educate the movie/TV industry on how to ensure people with disabilities are included on both sides of the camera in the stories that Hollywood tells.
Where: Bunim/Murray Productions Studio
Glendale, CA 91201
Who: Nyle DiMarco, actor, model and activist, and the first Deaf person to win America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With The Stars

Jonathan Murray, reality TV pioneer, executive producer of Born This Way, Project Runway and Autism: The Musical

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President, RespectAbility

Kate Folb, Director, Hollywood, Health & Society

Jose Plaza, California Endowment

Why: With Hollywood striving to boost diversity and inclusion, one group consistently is overlooked: People with disabilities. One in five Americans has a disability, but is represented by fewer than two percent of TV and fewer than three percent of movie characters. In recent years none of the characters with disabilities in leading films were from an underrepresented group or the LGBTQ community, while non-disabled actors portray 95 percent of characters with disabilities on television.
When: Tuesday, March 20, 2018
8:30 AM Breakfast begins
8:45 AM Program begins
NOTE: Breakfast will be served.

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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