Advocates for the Disabled Speak Out Against Glee's Wheelchair Episode
Kevin McHale, Glee
In Wednesday's episode of Glee, the glee club members spend time in wheelchairs to get a feel for what their pal Artie (Kevin McHale) does on a daily basis. The story line has caught the attention of actors with disabilities and their advocates, according to The Associated Press.
Advocates see the casting of McHale, who is not disabled, as a lost chance for someone with an actual disability to get the role.
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"I think there's a fear of litigation, that a person with disabilities might slow a production down, fear that viewers might be uncomfortable," Robert David Hall (CSI) told AP. "I've made my living as an actor for 30 years and I walk on two artificial legs."
Hall is among several actors with disabilities currently on TV, including Daryl "Chill" Mitchell (Brothers), RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad) and Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice).
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Brad Falchuk, Glee's executive producer, notes that they did attempt to bring diversity to the Fox series. "We brought in anyone: white, black, Asian, in a wheelchair. It was very hard to find people who could really sing, really act, and have that charisma you need on TV," he told the AP.