USA Network Uses Fake Blind Guy to Celebrate Americans With Disabilties Act

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I’m not sure anyone else noticed, but I was stunned by a PSA run tonight by USA Network in association with its new show Covert Affairs.

In the PSA, USA Network has one of its main characters talking about the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and it’s impact. (the full press release is below.)

This would be great given the impact the ADA has had leveling the playing ground except they use a guy who can see to play a blind person.

A sighted person is playing a blind person, and there are not any real blind actors on the show that I know of.

What does that say about their real respect for the ADA.

If they wanted to make this about people with disabilities why not extend the principles they claim and find a blind actor to play the part. After all, if the CIA can do it why not Hollywood.

When this was about actors coloring their faces to play people of different colors this unacceptable, but when sighted people are used to play blind people this ok?

Are blind people incapable of acting? What would the ADA say about that?

But somehow the “American Association of People with Disabilities” thinks this ok according to USA Network’s PR machine.

I’m sorry, but I call BS.





As Part of Network’s Characters Unite Campaign, Series Star Christopher Gorham to be Featured in an Original PSA on Combating Discrimination

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – July 27, 2010 – As part of its Characters Unite campaign to combat prejudice and discrimination, USA Network and its new, hit series COVERT AFFAIRS are teaming up with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it was announced today by Alexandra Shapiro senior vice president, brand marketing and digital, USA Network. COVERT AFFAIRS premiered on July 13, 2010, and is the #1 cable scripted series premiere in the important A18-49 demographic and also showed growth in total viewers for its second episode.

Christopher Gorham, who portrays a blind CIA operative (Auggie) in COVERT AFFAIRS, will be featured in an original Public Service Announcement (PSA) that highlights the progress of the ADA, which barred discrimination in employment against qualified individuals with disabilities. The PSA will premiere in the July 27th episode of COVERT AFFAIRS, the day after the 20th anniversary of when the landmark bill was signed into law.

“Thanks to the ADA, millions of people with disabilities like Christopher Gorham’s character have been able to work in virtually every field and every type of business, even the CIA,” Shapiro said. “But we also know that barriers for people with disabilities remain and we are proud to partner with the AAPD in our Characters Unite campaign to raise awareness and encourage viewers to join the fight against persisting discrimination.”

In addition to the PSA, USA will provide information for visitors online at, including facts and statistics on people with disabilities in the workplace and links to important resources such as the AAPD and The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free service that offers advice and information about workplace accommodations.

“As we celebrate 20 years of enforcement of ADA, we at AAPD are delighted to partner with the USA Network’s Characters Unite campaign and the ‘Covert Affairs’ team to promote authentic depictions of disabled characters on television,” said Andrew J. Imparato, president and CEO of AAPD. “This exciting new program will help change attitudes, and the PSA being launched this week will accelerate and amplify the show’s inclusive message.”

In COVERT AFFAIRS, USA’s newest original series, we meet Annie Walker (Piper Perabo), a young CIA trainee who is thrust into the inner sanctum of the agency when she is unexpectedly promoted to field operative. While it appears that she has been plucked from obscurity for her exceptional linguistic skills, there may be something or someone from her past that her CIA bosses are really after. The series also stars Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher, Kari Matchett, Anne Dudek and Sendhil Ramamurthy. From Universal Cable Productions, COVERT AFFAIRS is executive produced by Doug Liman and David Bartis through Dutch Oven and written and co-executive produced by Matt Corman and Chris Ord. James Parriott is the show’s executive producer and showrunner.

The PSA can be viewed via the following link:

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). AAPD operates programs in five core areas: Political Participation, Leadership Development, Employment & Mentoring, Advocacy, Membership & Member Benefits. To learn more, visit the AAPD website:

USA Network is the #1 network in all of basic cable and is seen in over 98.5 million U.S. homes. A division of NBC Universal, USA is the cable television leader in original series and home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, acquired television series and entertainment events. The award-winning USA website is located at Characters Welcome.

USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

One thought on “USA Network Uses Fake Blind Guy to Celebrate Americans With Disabilties Act

  1. With regard to Shapiro’s statement about “encouraging viewers to fight persistent discrimination,” how about starting with fighting discrimination ON YOUR SHOW by not discriminating against blind actors?

    And as for Imparato’s comment about the show’s “inclusive message” what might that inclusive message be when you are EXcluding actors who are blind?

    Staggering ignorance. Incredibly offensive to the disability community and SHOULD be offensive to ALL people interested in human and civil rights.

    Anita Hollander
    National Co-Chair
    Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People With Disabilities