The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) commends the broadcaster CBS and the television series Crime Scene Investigation: CSI and for featuring deaf and hard of hearing community members as empowered human beings and portraying our language, American Sign Language (ASL), in a positive light. The episode, “The Two Mrs. Grissoms,” which aired on February 3, 2011 featured Marlee Matlin, Phyllis Frelich, Anthony Natale, Ty Giordano and a number of deaf and hard of hearing extras.
“The Two Mrs. Grissoms” closely reflects our close-knit and vibrant community where ASL is ubiquitous. The ASL community in America is very much a fabric of American life alongside our hearing family members, co-workers, and peers. The CSI episode is an exceedingly rare portrayal of our community on primetime television.
“We deeply appreciate the efforts of the producers to include, accurately portray, and celebrate our community in their production,” said NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins. “Historically, the deaf and hard of hearing community suffer from disproportionate representation on television. The positive promotion of the deaf and hard of hearing community and ASL in television, film, and mass media is one of the goals of the NAD. We hope that CBS brings back Gil Grissom’s mother, and create more episodes where he can communicate in his on-screen ‘first language’, ASL.”
The NAD urges other broadcasters and other television producers to follow suit and to show the deaf and hard of hearing community, and ASL, in a positive light in other television shows. Further, the NAD urges Hollywood companies and studios to include aspiring deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the fields of acting, writing, directing, and production through their diversity initiatives.