Stars Support Disability Awareness at the 2012 Media Access Awards
On Wednesday, October 10, stars from all sectors of the media gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to celebrate the 2012 Media Access Awards. The annual awards ceremony held by SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild, Producers Guild, and Casting Society of America in association with the Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship and RJ Mitte Diversity Award, honored and championed the awareness and inclusion of those with disabilities in the media and entertainment.
The awards and breakfast ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel this year, promotes the industry to be more accessible for disabled individuals, as well as depicting disabled characters accurately; it advocates a positive perception of the disabled in the media as well. Among the attendees at the event were Shonda Rhimes (creator of "Grey's Anatomy"), Lauren Potter ("Glee"), RJ Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt, Oscar nominee John Hawkes, Zack Weinstein ("Glee", "Criminal Minds", "NCIS") and more.
Robert David Hall, best known for his role as coroner Dr. Albert Robbins on the hit TV show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation", has been involved for over 30 years. "I want to give back because the obstacles get old and you want to change things," he says. "I've watched it grow from three to four people having coffee to an event at the Beverly Hilton."
Ronnie Yeskel, casting director for "The Sessions" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm", received the Casting Society of America Award at the Media Access Awards. Yeskel stated that disability is "something we should be conscious of all times, but we're not."
Neon Tommy also spoke with Jane Lynch, who plays the iconic Sue Sylvester on FOX's hit TV show, "Glee." When asked why she decided to get involved in disability awareness in the media and entertainment, she states, "I was asked to honor Lauren [Potter] today and of course I jumped at the chance. "Glee" gave us both the day off to do this. I've learned an awful lot and come into contact with some of the most wonderful people."
RJ Mitte, who stars in AMC's hit show "Breaking Bad" was also in attendance. Like his character in the show, Mitte is diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy. Mitte talked to Neon Tommy about his experience in the entertainment industry. "[There are] very talented disabled actors in the industry and it's really cool to see everyone coming out and supporting. I'm really excited. Every year it gets bigger and bigger." On how starring in his breakout role in one of the biggest shows on television has changed his life, Mitte states, "I wouldn't be in the same position...be the same person, if it wasn't for "Breaking Bad." It's changed my life for the better."
Each year, the Media Access Awards attracts a great number of influential people in the media and entertainment to support the cause for the disabled. For the 56 million Americans who live with disabilities, the recognition of the impact of the film and television industries is important in increasing opportunities for the disabled in the vast realm of the media.
For red carpet pictures of the event, go here.
Reach Staff Reporter Dian Qi here.