Critics Boycott CBS Series 'The Stand' Because the Actor Playing the Deaf Character Can Hear

(Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures via AP)


Well, it had to happen eventually.

In our new woke paradigm, actress Scarlett Johansson can’t portray a woman identifying as a man. Nor can James Corden be a straight actor playing a gay character.


Thus, we take an obvious next step: Deaf characters should only be played by deaf actors.

Such is the premise of a December 17th letter picking up steam on the web, which condemns the casting of actor Henry Zaga.

Henry can currently be seen as Nick Andros in a new adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller The Stand on CBS.

In the series, Nick is deaf.

But there’s some unacceptability afoot: Henry, as it turns out, can hear.

The letter explains:

The selection of the hearing actor to portray Nick Andros in The Stand is not acceptable. The character, Nick Andros is Deaf and signs. Not one Deaf professional actor was called in to audition for the role.

Critics believe it was a slap in the face:

The decision was made without respect to and for Deaf professionals, union, and non-union alike.

Per the letter, a deaf role requires an actor with the same psyche:

There was no acknowledgement given to the psyche of a Deaf character; being Deaf is more than just not hearing.


The call-to-arms condemns the misrepresentation of it all:

At the time of diversity and inclusion, this cycle of misrepresentation and unequal or non-existent employment opportunities for Deaf professionals in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera, must end. This has been happening for decades.

As noted by The Daily Wire, the letter states its signees will boycott the show until the casting’s reversed.

And they’ll be spreading the word to other deaf people and a network of nearly half a billion:

We will share our displeasure of the casting decision and airing of the miniseries on CBS All Access with our Deaf community, signing community, friends, and family of Deaf individuals; together we make up 466 million worldwide.

Across the industry, deaf creatives are ready for their seat at the table:

It is time for industry professionals to create opportunities for Deaf talent to work on the set, in front of, and behind the camera, in the writing rooms, sit on creative teams when there is a Deaf character involved in the storyline. Our voice is a sign of the times.

On social media, one user nodded to The Stand actress Whoopi Goldberg with love, but said he won’t be watching:


The movement’s getting some UK affection, too:

One tweeter insisted, “There’s absolutely no excuse for not hiring a Deaf actor to play a Deaf character.”

Another wrote, “I want to see deaf people playing deaf people on the screen because I can tell INSTANTLY that the acting/signing is not authentic. Hearing people think hearing people acting as deaf people is great representation while it leaves us out in the cold.”

That same person slammed actors for co-opting identities:

“It is not ‘being an actor’ to co-opt identities! can you laugh/cry on command? cool. can you learn 10 years of ASL & pretend to be deaf while w perfectly functioning ears and eyes that have never known how to look further than what’s in front of them? NO.”


Of course, not everyone’s on board with the boycott:

One naysayer got down to the long and short of it:

Not long ago, there was something called “acting.” Professionals appeared on the silver screen with fake names, fake accents, and fake problems, pretending to be from places they weren’t, faking skills they lacked, and behaving as if they knew things they didn’t. They played disabled people (Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump), blind people (Jamie Foxx in Ray), and — yes — deaf (Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker).


But times have changed. These days, if you want a hearing-impaired character onscreen, it seems, you’d better hire Helen Keller.


Oh, wait —



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