DejaView News

Drama-infused streaming news

Apple TV+ And Disability Pride

Apple TV+ has one major advantage over the rest of the streaming services: proper representation for people with disabilities.

With July 2022 almost at an end, Disability Pride Month is almost over, but the pride of people with disabilities doesn’t stop after a month and currently, there is no better streaming service for content focused on celebrating stories about disabilities than Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ Cares About Authenticity

Apple TV+ may not have a content library that services like Disney+ or Netflix offer, but unlike those other streamers when it comes to films and series which are about or feature disabled characters they almost always cast a disabled actor/actress in those roles (the only exception being See where everyone is blind). For example, in the Apple TV+ kids series, Best Foot Forward the main actor in the series who plays amputee Josh Dubin (Jason Marmino) actually has a prosthetic leg. Likewise, deaf characters in Apple TV+’s film CODA are played by deaf actors and autistic characters in Apple TV+’s film Cha Cha Real Smooth and TV series Little Voice are played by autistic actors.

Whilst companies like Netflix, Sony and Disney have spotty histories with casting disabled actors to play roles with disabilities, Apple seems to want to tell the most authentic stories possible, you wouldn’t cast a white actor to play a black character so casting a well-bodied/neurotypical actor in a disabled role is just as bad.

Apple’s Film CODA Changed The Game, Three Times

Apple TV+ released the film CODA in August 2021 and the film was a masterpiece and marked several major milestones not just for Apple TV+ but for the film industry as a whole. CODA was the first streaming film to win an Oscar, but it was also the first film with a predominately deaf and disabled cast and more amazingly Apple used CODA to do something all the major film studios failed to do, burn the subtitles into the print of the film. Marlee Matlin one of the actors in CODA went to see the Disney musical film Cruella in cinemas with her family, she then discovered that all of the songs in the film were not subtitled meaning she had only gotten to experience half the movie.

Back in 2016, the six major film studios Disney, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures won a lawsuit from members of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. With the major studios winning the lawsuit in question they won the right to not have to accommodate hearing disabilities when it comes to subtitling songs in films. (Editor’s Note: Whoa.) Apple’s move to burn subtitles into every version of CODA is a loving way of saying that they actually care.

Is This All A PR Stunt?

This is something that is thrown around everyone once in a while, that Apple is only making content for a disabled audience because they’re not as big a player in streaming as companies like Disney or Netflix. Apple is the biggest technology company in the world and is worth nearly $3 Trillion dollars, but something many people don’t seem to realise is Tim Cook, the CEOof Apple, is a minority himself as he is a gay man. My personal belief is Tim was probably discriminated against when he was a child and he never wanted others to feel that way, that’s why Apple TV+ has done more for LGBTQ+ and Disability representation within its short 2.5-year existence than many other services that launched before or after they did (Disney+, lol).

Where Does Apple Go From Here?

Apple has clearly embraced the idea of content for those with disabilities similar to how fellow technology giant Microsoft has embraced making video games accessible for those with disabilities. In my opinion, Apple is in an amazing position when compared to other streamers. Apple has something like $200 billion dollars in cash and they only use around $6-$8 billion of that on Apple TV+ content. My personal desire is for Apple to keep making more content about those with disabilities and to casting actors with disabilities to play those roles.

I would love to see a TV series about a girl in a wheelchair and her struggles in her day-to-day life, a film about a girl with epilepsy, a film about Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ava Abley (who should have one) or a film about a dyslexic boy who wants to be a writer (Apple, call me). Apple seems to be investing billions into acquiring live sports but I’m hopeful Apple will continue to produce and acquire films and series about those with disabilities. Apple has the money and they’ve shown they can care, at least they care more than most entertainment giants like Disney.

Freelance Writer | Website | + posts

An Autistic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars fan from England. Ethan is an advocate for equal representation in media for people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and people with disabilities. One day he'll be a published author mark his words, but for now, he covers Disney stuff.

%d bloggers like this: