‘Paramount Global Summit on Disability’ To Spotlight Need For Greater Inclusion

The “Paramount Global Summit on Disability” will be held virtually and in-person at the company’s Hollywood Gower office in Los Angeles on October 31, 2022.

Presented by the Paramount Office of Global Inclusion, the day-long summit for employees and external partners will feature discussions with performers from various series and films, company leaders, and philanthropic and nonprofit workers to call attention to the need for greater disability inclusion in media and entertainment. The goal is to engage the entire industry in their learnings and to share next and best practices.

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The event will also honor October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which recognizes the essential contributions of people with disabilities in the American workforce.

“People with disabilities are responsible for creating some of society’s most beloved films, shows and characters, yet these professionals remain woefully underrepresented in media and entertainment. As we build on our commitment to disability inclusion and equality, our goal for the summit is to activate the Paramount community around this critical issue and use our learnings to engage the industry around next practices,” said Marva Smalls, EVP, Global Head of Inclusion, Paramount Global.

Programming for the summit will center on three moderated fireside chats and a concluding keynote address, with topics to include the experiences of performers and content creators with disabilities; disability advocacy in the entertainment industry; and solutions for a more inclusive and equitable workplace:

  • “Representation Looks Like This” with Claudia Lyon, EVP, Talent and Casting, CBS, and actor, director and professional athlete Kurt Yaeger (Sons of Anarchy, Quarry, Tell Me A Story, SEAL Team, The Village, NCIS LA, Another Life)
  • “Using Comedy for Social Change” with stand-up comedians, Nic Novicki, Founder & Director of Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, and actor and writer Danielle Perez (Russian Doll, Curb Your Enthusiasm)
  • “Disability in the Workforce” with Shira Ruderman, Executive Director, Ruderman Family Foundation, and Deborah Calla, CEO, Media Access Awards, moderated by actress Nicole Evans (Dahmer-Monster, Superstore, Good Trouble)
  • “State of the Industry” keynote address by actor, comedian and activist Danny Woodburn (Seinfeld, Bones, Watchmen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

The summit, which serves as an extension of Paramount Global’s annual Inclusion Week, builds on the company’s increased focus on disability equality.

Most recently, the company announced the “CBS Performers with Disabilities Talent Initiative” that commits the broadcast network to increase casting opportunities and create a casting database for disabled talent, in addition to providing customized support for career advancement.

In 2019, CBS became the first entertainment company to sign the Ruderman Family Foundation pledge to increase television and film auditions and roles for performers with disabilities. Additionally, both Nic Novicki and Danielle Perez are alumni of Showcase, the annual industry-leading variety comedy show started by CBS that is designed to highlight diverse actors and creators.

These efforts align with broader social impact work driven by Content for Change, a Paramount Global initiative to challenge bias, promote inclusive storytelling, and strengthen diverse representation on-screen and off.

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