ROBERT DAVID HALL
WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT?
The business I’m in, entertainment, is a huge, multi-billion dollar juggernaut. People, around the globe, with and without disabilities, consume it every second of every day.
The problem is–with all the talk of “diversity”–there are precious few individuals with disabilities making a living in show business. I became passionate about the employment of disabled actors, musicians, and other creative types early in my career because of my own physical disabilities. I saw no reason why talented, hardworking people, who are viewed as “different”, should be kept out of this industry.
As with any other sub-group of people, the gifts and talents of people with disabilities belong in front of–and behind–the cameras. The work that drives NOD also drives me. Employing qualified people with disabilities is not simply a “do-gooder” impulse. It’s good business!
WHAT EFFECT HAVE EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES HAD ON YOUR ORGANIZATION?
I’ve generally been the only person with a disability in most of my professional endeavors.
I’ve worked at a fairly high level in on-air radio, commercial voice overs, television, film and music. At times it’s been odd to be singled out as the “disabled” talent, but, that’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to realize a dream. I would add that my Unions, SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity have led the fight for the inclusion of talented people with disabilities for many years. And, like a growing number of corporations (many reflected on the NOD board), my former employer, CBS, has made strides in identifying disabled talent in the myriad number of jobs in our industry.