DC Jericho and The Stand’s Henry Zaga | ICYMI Follow Up

Hello and welcome! This is kind of a follow up to the previous video, because I got a comment and I wanted to respond now.

Hi Rogan! There are two things that I’d love to know your opinion about. 1- Chella Man (a deaf and queer activist and artist) being casted on DC’s Titans as Jericho. 2- A hearing actor called Henry Zaga will play a “deaf and dumb” character (those are the exact words of an article) on Stephen King’s The Stand series. Lots of people, deaf and allies, asked him to reconsider playing the role and think about the lack of actual disabled people on the industry. He blocked the comments on the picture he posted on instagram about his casting and didn’t address the issue.

Camyla

I actually did consider including these in my previous video, but I decided not to, because all three were very recent announcements. Jericho was a while back, the second was recent and not a positive announcement.

First, Chella Man as Jericho. I don’t really know much about this. I do know that character, Jericho, is actually hearing. So they casted a deaf person play a hearing person, great. Now, Jericho, his character, doesn’t speak because something happened to him, he got his vocal cords cut. So he can’t speak anymore, but he uses sign. He also has the power to possess and can talk through them, using their language, their body. That’s an interesting power to have. So, I think… I personally don’t see anything wrong with that casting. I know some people are a little bit ehh, Chella doesn’t sign well, he’s not fluent. But I don’t think Jericho would be either. Because Jericho learned sign later in life, the same as Chella. So… I think it’s actually a pretty good casting decision. Also, from my quick reading online, Jericho was originally a straight character, but in DC Rebirth, he’s actually bisexual, so a queer actor in a queer role. Cool. And if I’m understanding correctly, Jericho is a white character. So they picked a Jewish/Chinese person to play this, sure! Now, that’s just about the casting decision. I know nothing about the show, I haven’t watched it. I don’t mind watching it at some point, but I haven’t seen it and I haven’t seen Jericho, so I can’t really comment on that.

The second question about Henry Zaga. I know nothing about Stephen King’s The Stand, Henry Zaga, or anything about the story, or whatever. So I’m like oh, I didn’t even realize Stephen King had a deaf character in one of his stories, until this blew up. But my first reaction is yes, I’m disappointed. I mean, it’s very clear in the story that the character is deaf, and *rolls eyes* mute. Those don’t automatically go together, but whatever. So if it’s clear in the text, why wouldn’t you cast a deaf person? We have plenty of deaf actors. And this is not like back in the time of Madea–Medeas, and other shows. At that time, it wasn’t really visible, but now… Really, you have NO excuse to not look for a deaf actor. I think it’s definitely partly on the network for not looking for a deaf person to take that role. But now, Henry Zaga. When he first took the role, yeah, he probably knew nothing about DeafTalent. Fine. But after so many people said, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t do this. Let a deaf person take that role.” And your response to all of this is to just turn off comments and not respond to any of us… That is a FANTASTIC way to lose the support of the deaf community. I’m disappointed he decided to respond this way, I wish I could say I was surprised, but honestly? I’m not. This is the pretty standard hearing response to deaf people calling them out–shutting them out.

I really don’t know what more to say, so I think that’s it for today. Let me know what you think of both of these casting decisions – Chella Man and Henry Zaga – in the comments below.

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