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15th Sep 2017

Jake Gyllenhaal’s new role as double amputee harshly criticised

"The perfect example of Hollywood’s ongoing systemic discrimination."

Jade Hayden

The decision to cast Jake Gyllenhaal as a double amputee in a new film has been criticised by disability rights campaigners.

Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, an American author who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Campaigners from The Ruderman Family Foundation said it was disappointing to see actors with disabilities being “overlooked” by Hollywood again.

President of the foundation, Jay Ruderman, called the casting “the perfect example of Hollywood’s ongoing systemic discrimination against actors with disabilities.”

“Gyllenhaal may have been the best actor for the part, but if actors with disabilities are never given a chance to audition they will never have the opportunity to reach the success that someone like Gyllenhaal has achieved.”

Ruderman said that even though people with disabilities make up “twenty percent of our society,” they represent just two percent of actors on screen.

“This inauthenticity in having able-bodied actors play a character with a disability will inevitably be seen by the public buying tickets to Hollywood’s films as unacceptable, just as we wouldn’t accept a white actor play a black character.”

The disability rights campaigner went on to say that even though we are told that Hollywood films need a popular star attached to them to succeed, he does not believe this to be true.

He pointed to Children of a Lesser God and Rocky as examples of this.

Gyllenhaal’s film, Stronger, is set to be released on September 22.