Disabled Advocates Protest Glee's Wheelchair Episode
Disabled viewers are not singing a happy tune when it comes to Glee's Nov. 11 episode, "Wheels."
A scene in the FOX ensemble song-and-dance series airing Wednesday where the cast performs "Proud Mary" in wheelchairs to support their paraplegic pal, Artie (Kevin McHale), deprives a disabled actor a shot at stardom, says CSI cast member Robert David Hall.
"I think there's a fear of litigation, that a person with disabilities might slow a production down, fear that viewers might be uncomfortable," the actor, 61, told USA Today.
But that's a misconception.
"I've made my living as an actor for 30 years and I walk on two artificial legs," Hall, who chairs a multi-union committee for performers with disabilities, says.
Producers for Glee, which focuses on the plight of an underdog high school glee club, say they pride themselves on having assembled a diverse cast, which includes McHale.
"We brought in anyone: white, black, Asian, in a wheelchair," executive producer Brad Falchuk said. "It was very hard to find people who could really sing, really act, and have that charisma you need on TV."
And while Falchuck sympathizes with those in the disabled community, he says McHale, 21, who plays Artie, is the perfect fit for the role. "It's hard to say no to someone that talented," Falchuk said.