A small sign that Hollywood has gotten slightly better for disability representation is that when Scott Silveri first pitched ABC the idea for “Speechless,” a show about a character with cerebral palsy, the network was so on board that it “took the wind out of my sails.”
“I went in with this whole speech, ‘Now’s the time, it’s been too long,'” said Silveri at the Abilities Unlimited panel, presented by Easterseals, at Variety’s Inclusion Summit. “I was happy that they wanted it, but I was also disappointed because I had my whole fight ready.”
Silveri said the network’s acceptance of “Speechless,” which premiered in 2016 to critical praise, was only possible because of the work of people before him. He also said he doesn’t take his platform lightly.
“We’re standing on the shoulders of a lot of people who have been fighting for inclusion, for people with disabilities,” he said. “The door got opened a crack for us, and we want to leave it open just a tad more for the next bunch.”