The Inevitable Foundation is calling on Hollywood to further include disabled creatives, a community that is often seen for jobs and excluded from conversations and studies about diversity. People with disabilities rely on more than 20 percent of the population but less than 1 percent of representation on film and TV.
Founded in 2021 by Ritchie Siegel and Marissa Torreli-Pedewska, the nonprofit was originally intended to support career-impaired writers. But when they started talking to the diversity and equity inclusion space and the group involved Hollywood executives, they faced challenges.
“When we started we had this dual mission: it was about funding and advising disabled writers on careers and increasing the number of characters on the screen. That second part gets really problematic because we talk to the executive and other people and they say, ‘Oh, great, I’ll call you when the disability role comes up.’ Seagull shared at the opening #TakeTheLead Summit of the Stars on Thursday evening in Los Angeles, no one ever called us.
He went on to say, “And we’re beginning to realize that by focusing on-screen and off-screen, it’s starting to give writers a leg up that we care so deeply about, so we’ve dropped the onscreen mission and focused on the workforce instead.” No one has ever raised that objection again … they are great writers. First and foremost, they are disabled writers second. “
The Inevitable Foundation has recently published a housing cost report that looks at all the barriers to talent while trying to get the housing they need.
The report found that 30 per cent of disabled talents had to pay out of pocket for their accommodation. This post-tax, post-representation-commission expenditure is a dubious blow to the income of disabled talents.
Also, the production budget will increase by an average of 0.033 percent to support a disabled crew member (based on a budget of $ 47 million).
“I think the problem will be very much at the forefront and center of this search for disabled crew, workforce and talent growth in the industry,” Siegel shared. “We’re really open to any kind of advancement, where companies think they can do it wherever they start.”
In response to their research, Siegel and Torreli-Pedevska have teamed up with a group of creative people with disabilities from 5 different countries to launch their Disability is Diversity campaign, to spread the word that there is no diversity, equality or inclusion without disability. “
“The campaign has 8 or 9 guiding questions that persuade the industry to start thinking about how they can do their part,” Siegel said. “Some questions are: Why don’t people with disabilities make up 20 percent of the teams you lead? Why don’t people with disabilities make up 20 percent of your employee base? Disability is tracked as a metric and we are reporting real diversity? I don’t think most companies will answer this question right now. But how do we get started on the yes side? It will take some time and thought. ”
And you don’t have to be a Hollywood executive to help create space for disabled creatives – anyone can be a collaborator.
“I am a collaborator in this work. I don’t identify people with disabilities and so when we look at the industry, if 1 percent talent is disabled then 99 percent can be collaborators, “he said. “And it’s important because people in power are not usually disabled. This is a huge opportunity for this population to really take action and stand up with a lot of stories to tell and a lot to add to the room. It is an incredibly creative population as well as they live in a world not designed to allow them to thrive. So the whole industry can be an ally, and we’re excited to see that happen. “