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New Study Claims 63% of Deaf Consumers Say Hollywood Perpetuates Negative Stereotypes

New Study Claims 63% of Deaf Consumers Say Hollywood Perpetuates Negative Stereotypes

The study also revealed that 76% of Deaf people believe the way their community is portrayed in fiction influences how they are perceived in the real world.



Sixty-three percent of Deaf consumers say Hollywood perpetuates negative stereotypes about the Deaf community and 82% believe the entertainment industry needs to offer more career support for Deaf Professionals according to a first-of-its kind study released today by National Research Group (NRG) - a leading global insights and strategy firm at the intersection of entertainment, technology, content, and sports - in partnership with Deaf West Theatre.

NRG and Deaf West Theatre's unprecedented global study, which features expert interviews and testimonials from notable Deaf creatives, examines representation, consumption and access barriers experienced by the Deaf community across the entertainment industry.

The study also revealed that 76% of Deaf people believe the way their community is portrayed in fiction influences how they are perceived in the real world and that the three most common negative stereotypes perpetuated in media are that Deaf people are unintelligent, are always dependent on others and all use sign language.

While NRG's findings show that 66% of Deaf consumers believe the success of CODA at the Oscars has led to increased attention on Deaf stories and 43% of hearing consumers have watched at least one piece of media featuring a Deaf character within the last six months, the report also shows there is still significant work to be done to increase Deaf representation and accurate depictions of the Deaf community on the screen.

Additional key findings from the survey reveal:

• 73% of Deaf consumers feel barriers to employment are a serious issue for Deaf people
• 70% of Deaf consumers say Deaf characters in TV and film are often presented as objects of pity
• 63% of hearing parents have never watched a children's TV show or movie with their child that has featured a Deaf character
• 56% of Deaf consumers rarely or never see their identities reflected in film or TV

"Our findings show that Deaf audiences strongly believe the lack of Deaf representation across all levels of the entertainment industry leads to inaccurate, and often harmful, depictions of the Deaf community," said Cindi Smith, NRG's Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. "What we have learned from our research is that progress can be made by creating more opportunities for Deaf writers, directors and other industry professionals, which will help foster more authentic and nuanced portrayals of deafness in mainstream media."

"It was important for us at Deaf West to engage in this partnership to survey our community. This shows that Deaf representation has made gains, but there is still a large disparity within the industry toward Deaf creators on all levels of entertainment. Deaf West has always been committed to bridging the gap between the Deaf and hearing communities, and we are optimistic that studies like this will help break down biases inside the industry and beyond," said DJ Kurs, Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre.

For the full report, which covers the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, please visit the following page on NRG's website -- Spotlight On: Deaf Representation.

ABOUT NATIONAL RESEARCH GROUP



National Research Group is a leading global insights and strategy firm at the intersection of entertainment and technology. Rooted in four decades of industry expertise, the world's leading marketers turn to us for insights into growth and strategy for any content, anywhere, on any device. Working at the confluence of content, culture and technology, NRG offers insights for bold storytellers everywhere. To learn more, please visit www.nationalresearchgroup.com, and follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram.




ABOUT Deaf West Theatre



Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director, DJ Kurs), engages artists and audiences in unparalleled theater experiences inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language, weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice. Committed to innovation, collaboration, and training, Deaf West Theatre is the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing worlds and a trusted resource for authentic storytelling and casting in theatre, film, television, and video projects. Deaf West's groundbreaking Broadway productions of Big River and Spring Awakening reinvented what is possible for the stage, and are excited to be partnering with Vendôme Pictures and Pathé Films on the upcoming stage adaptation of the 2022 Academy Award winning Best Picture CODA.





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