Views from America

Eileen Grubba
Eileen Grubba

Hollywood actress, producer and writer, EILEEN GRUBBA, has joined ‘DISABILITY TALK’ and will host this new section. Views from America

“Hey Hey hey!

We have been invited to start posting “Views From America” on Disability Talk UK!

Would love for you all to meet Chris Jordan, and say Hello, and have you start contributing articles, posts, comments, thoughts, your projects and videos, anything you want to share from Hollywood and the US. I have posted Dominick’s recent article about the Academy on the CHATS section. Love to have you all jump in and make the most of expanding our audience and reach worldwide. Thanks!

Chris also got my question about HOW WE FIX THIS, to Stephen Hawking!

Thank you Chris Jordan!

xoxo Eileen Grubba”

About Eileen Grubba

Eileen Grubba is an accomplished actress, writer and producer. She is on the new NBC series “Game Of Silence”. She’s worked on Bones, Criminal Minds, Sons of Anarchy, The Five Year Engagement, The Closer, Cold Case, Hung, CSI Miami, The Mentalist, Masters of Sex, Nip/Tuck, Monk, E.R. and many other shows, films and in theater. She is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio, an advocate for families with hereditary cancers, children with disabilities, and an advocate for the hiring of people with physical challenges in the entertainment industry. IMDB | Twitter: @EileenGrubba | Facebook |

Latest Update: Casting Directors Under Pressure to Represent Today’s America in Film, TV

When Linda Lowy was casting the pilot for “Grey’s Anatomy” more than a decade ago, she had only one edict from creator Shonda Rhimes regarding skin color — Miranda Bailey had to be white. Rhimes envisioned the character as a petite blonde whose mousy frame would contrast with a fierce intellect and fiercer demeanor, both of which would intimidate the show’s young doctors in training. Kristin Chenoweth tested for the role. But then Lowy saw a taped audition from an African-American actress named Chandra Wilson.

“I didn’t see anything other than the character,” Lowy says. “I took it out of the machine — it was a VHS tape then — and I walked down to Shonda’s office and I said, ‘You have to look at this.’ We were both flabbergasted.”

Wilson is now in her 13th season on “Grey’s.” When the show premiered, the broadcast-network diversity departments born out of an NAACP boycott were not quite five years old. Now broadcasters such as ABC tout their onscreen diversity as a point of pride. But inclusion in Hollywood isn’t entirely a rosy picture: Studios such as Marvel have been forced to defend themselves vigorously against charges of whitewashing in their films.

That transition of diversity from the back burner to the hot stove has changed the way that casting directors operate. And the diversity conversation has since become more nuanced — broadening beyond questions of simply black and white.

“I feel like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ in many ways, and ‘Scandal’ after that, and ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ after that — we sort of changed something,” Lowy says. “We moved something a little bit in the right direction.”


“Disabled actors and advocates plead to Hollywood: ‘Give us a chance, please!”

By Tre’vell Andersonontact Reporter
November 2, 2016, 10:15 AM

Danny Woodburn, left, Jason George, Robert David Hall and Micah Fowler (right, next to his father) discuss representations of disabled people in front of the camera. (Niv Shank / Ruderman Family Foundation)
Danny Woodburn, left, Jason George, Robert David Hall and Micah Fowler (right, next to his father)

When Hollywood discusses diversity, it tends to focus on race, gender and, maybe, sexual orientation — but it almost always ignores disability. This was the consistent refrain and impetus behind the Ruderman Studio-Wide Roundtable on Disability Inclusion held Tuesday in Beverly Hills by the Ruderman Family Foundation.

“There is something wrong with this picture,” said Marlee Matlin, an Oscar-winning actress. “We as an industry keep talking about diversity — we know we have a problem. But, sadly, when we start speaking about diversity, disability seems to be left out far too often.”

Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation, added: “As Hollywood begins to come to terms that the entertainment industry needs to reflect modern day America, it is imperative that the largest minority among us, people with disabilities, is not left by the sidelines.”

“Audiences want to see us and we want to be seen. We deserve 110% to be seen.”
— Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin


Actors With Disabilities Speak Up: “Just Give Us A Chance”

“This conversation is so necessary because there are 56 million Americans with a disability. That is 20% of the population. But if you judged our existence by what you Marlee Matlin. see on TV, you would think we made up less than 1%,” said actress Marlee Matlin. “Movies aren’t much better — there is something wrong with the entire picture.”

Matlin’s comments came today at the first-ever (and long overdue) Disability Inclusion Roundtable held in Beverly Hills, where Matlin, RJ Mitte, Danny Woodburn, Micah Fowler and Orlando Jones took the stage to talk about the most unrepresented minority in Hollywood — people with disabilities, those who are often forgotten as part of the diversity landscape.

“We as an industry keep talking about diversity. We know we have a problem but when we start speaking about diversity, disabilities seem to be left out,” Matlin added. “We all remember the last Oscars for being too white. The Academy said its 2016 mandate is inclusion in all of its facets, but where is disability?”

In July of this year, the The Ruderman Family Foundation, which advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society, released a White Paper study on Employment of Actors with Disabilities in Television, co-authored by Woodburn, that laid out the inequality in the film and television industry for those with disabilities. It revealed that 95% of television characters with a disability on the top 10 TV shows are played by able-bodied actors. The Ruderman Foundation also organized the Beverly Hills event today.


Why are we OK with disability drag in Hollywood?


Glee – Mike Yarish/Fox

Non-disabled actor Kevin McHale, bottom, playing the paraplegic character of Artie on Glee.
By Danny Woodburn and Jay Ruderman

It’s no secret that television programming offers a skewed image of our diverse society—one that’s whiter, straighter and more male. For example, 43% of characters on the 2015-16 cable and broadcast TV season were women, while in real life women make up roughly half of the population. But the small screen is doing better than it used to. In the 2014-15 season, for instance, only 40% of characters were women, meaning that the 43% figure last year was an improvement. We’re also seeing more gay and lesbian characters, more transgender characters, more characters of color.

We’re actually seeing improvement in all categories, except for one: people with disabilities.
Imagine if only 5% of female characters on television were played by women. Imagine if 95% of black characters were played by white actors.

“Imagine if only 5% of female characters on television were played by women. Imagine if 95% of black characters were played by white actors.”

According to GLAAD’s “Where Are We on TV” report, the share of characters with disabilities dropped from 1.4% to 0.9% on broadcast programming from 2014-15 to 2015-16. Given that at least 18.7% of Americans live with a disability, that’s nothing short of abhorrent. (And the 18.7% figure, from the U.S. census, is probably a conservative estimate since many people with disabilities are hesitant to self-identify as such.) If women were depicted in the same ratio as characters with disabilities, only 2.4% of all characters on television would be women.

What’s even more outrageous is the fact that actors without disabilities are so often chosen to portray the few characters with disabilities. Recently we looked at the top 10 scripted TV shows on cable and broadcasting networks for the 2015-16 season. In these shows, using the broadest evolving definition of disability, there were 20 characters who had a disability—either physical or psychological—while only one out of the 20 actors had one. That comes out to 5%.



Eileen welcomes Cynthia DeJesus to the show. President Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant, Inc. at Ms. Wheelchair USA Cynthia shares her story and explains how she is able to deal with constant pain and adversity in her life. This is a truly amazing story of determination and focus.

Game of Silence’s Eileen Grubba Shines a Light on Actors With Disabilities

Among the minority groups underrepresented in Hollywood television and film, actors with disabilities are perhaps the most invisible. In 2015, less than one percent of all series-regular roles on primetime network television were played by actors with disabilities, and yet 20 percent of our population is a person with a disability. Slowly but surely (emphasis on the “slowly”) things are changing in Hollywood, and Eileen Grubba is proof. For 24 years now, Grubba (pronounced Grooba) has quietly carved an impressive career in a variety of memorable television roles, most recently as Alice Ann on NBC’s new drama series Game of Silence, premiering this Tuesday, April 12 at 10/9c. The Alaskan-born actress even does her own physical stunts on the show. I spoke to Grubba about her journey as an actress in Hollywood – not an easy path to say the least – which makes her triumphs all the more inspiring.

Xaque Gruber: It’s considered a great feat for a non-disabled actor to play a disabled role. Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, and many others have received Academy Awards-level acclaim for this. Your role in Game of Silence aside, are disabled actors making strides in Hollywood – or are they still largely invisible?

Read more….

Read an interview that gives Eileen’s point of view on WHY we need to hire people with disabilities in Entertainment:
Interview with Writer, Advocate and Actress Eileen Grubba

Read about the Academy president excluding disability from her diversity initiatives:

And a few days later, the FORMER president includes disability in his call to action to the Industry:

The PWD’s are getting mad here in America! And I don’t blame them! He is right, even the diversity panels exclude disability. And the other minorities don’t include disability when they discuss diversity either. It is rare to find someone who INCLUDES EVERYONE when speaking, or writing, on the subject of diversity.


I met this kid Rex today, while teaching at Performing Arts Studio West. This is a reminder that there is ALWAYS a super talent that comes with every challenge. We just have to find it, and allow it!

Visit the facebook page for Performing Arts Studio West

Hey guys!
Bold ad agencies are leading the way for ALL inclusive diversity, as evidenced by two Superbowl ads:

Advertisers are realizing the size and value of the disabled community and are finally INCLUDING them! Bravo!!! More please!

SAG-AFTRA issues an official statement on Diversity being ALL INCLUSIVE, and yes, they included DISABILITY! Progress!

"It is a core value of SAG-AFTRA that our strength is in our diversity. We are committed to the broadest employment and involvement of our members, regardless of race, national origin, ancestry, color, creed, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veteran status, gender identity or expression, age or disability."


And the article in Variety:

Thank you, Orlando Jones!  Finally someone has the courage to INCLUDE people with physical differences in their Diversity initiatives!

Check out his Huffington post: