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Dakota Johnson blasted for Disability Erasure for playing blind and paralyzed Madame Web in the Spider-Verse

As one of the internet's favorite celebrities, Dakota Johnson likely has her pick of which blockbuster movie multiverse she wants to appear in. And it looks like The Lost Daughter star has settled on Sony's ever-expanding Spider-Verse as its first live action female superhero.

But there's a wrinkle to this particular web. Originally introduced in a 1980 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Madame Web is canonically blind and classically depicted as an elderly paralyzed woman who relies on her psychic abilities — which stem from a neurological condition known as myasthenia gravis — to engage with the world.

Critics are blasting Johnson for taking the role from a blind actress or paraplegic actress. “There are tons of blind and paralyzed actresses who are able to take on the role,” say critics. “This is disgusting disability erasure at its finest. Do better.”

Madame Web is canonically blind in her Marvel Comics appearances. (Photo: Marvel)

Sony's move to cast Johnson in the role of a disabled hero runs counter to Marvel Studio's own recent attempts to diversify the Marvel Cinematic Universe by casting two deaf performers as deaf characters. Last November, Chloe Zhao's Eternals featured the first deaf hero in a Marvel movie, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff. And the recent Disney+ series Hawkeye introduced Alaqua Cox as Echo, a deaf vigilante who will be headlining her own spinoff series later this year. Eternals also casted real life gays to portray gay superheroes on screen. This is a rare step backwards for the studio.

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by Anonymousreply 79June 23, 2022 1:29 AM

Considering there aren’t exactly a lot of roles for blind actors, I agree it was wrong for her to do this. This is one of the few times an actual blind actor could have had their “moment.”

by Anonymousreply 1June 17, 2022 7:52 AM

[quote] an actual blind actor

^ but is this actor blind blind?

by Anonymousreply 2June 17, 2022 7:54 AM

Here comes the idiot that goes ^^^^^^^^^^^

by Anonymousreply 3June 17, 2022 7:55 AM

[quote]^ but is this actor blind blind?

No she is not blind at all. Dakota is abled.

by Anonymousreply 4June 17, 2022 7:59 AM

R4 can't read lol

by Anonymousreply 5June 17, 2022 8:01 AM

By critics do they mean random people on twitter??

by Anonymousreply 6June 17, 2022 8:04 AM

There are “tons” of blind actresses.

I can’t name one.

by Anonymousreply 7June 17, 2022 8:05 AM

I don’t think she’s paralyzed or disabled at all. Dakota is very abled. If so, shame on her.

by Anonymousreply 8June 17, 2022 8:05 AM

Shouldn't the actor be paralyzed and elderly, as well as blind? Are there any "good" blind, paralyzed, elderly actors?

by Anonymousreply 9June 17, 2022 8:05 AM

[quote] There are “tons” of blind actresses.

[quote]I can’t name one.

Look harder.

by Anonymousreply 10June 17, 2022 8:07 AM

[quote] Madame Web is canonically blind

'canonically' is a meaningless adjective.

by Anonymousreply 11June 17, 2022 8:09 AM

I’m not going to look. I can’t name one off the top of my head.

by Anonymousreply 12June 17, 2022 8:09 AM

They intended to cast a blind actress but she couldn't see there was an issue with the elevator

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by Anonymousreply 13June 17, 2022 8:10 AM

I don't know much about "blind" actors act, how did they learn the acting if they were born blind? Did they become blind late in their lives? How do they find cameras.... So many questions?

BTW, I don't count those who list "blind" in their disability claims are all blind, some are fakes.

by Anonymousreply 14June 17, 2022 8:10 AM

R10 name one then, you sound like an expert giving lecture here

by Anonymousreply 15June 17, 2022 8:14 AM

The literal-minded idiocy of modern culture strikes again!

The profession is “acting,” not “actually being”. She’s getting paid to pretend for a living.

Where does this end? Only those who have cancer in real life can play cancer victims? Real-life atheists not allowed to portray Christian characters?

This is all so very deeply stupid.

by Anonymousreply 16June 17, 2022 8:30 AM

Hope she remakes Ice Castles next.

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by Anonymousreply 17June 17, 2022 8:33 AM

R6 so true, those idiots are clueless, I happed to witness some film shooting a few times, the biggest surprise for me is how CLOSE the camera can get in front of actors' faces and how frequently they shoot like that, I think that's probably the biggest challenge for most people like you and me, to "act" naturally with the camera so close and surrounded by the director and crews. I am no expert on film making with blind actors, but I can see that's definitely a challenge here if the actors don't know exactly where the camera is, how do they interact with lens or other actors?

by Anonymousreply 18June 17, 2022 8:42 AM

I think we should double down on these restrictions on who gets to play a part. Take for example Reese Witherspoon. She's a natural brunette, and her playing Elle Woods is LITERAL VIOLENCE towards natural blondes. Legally Blonde, indeed. What a RACIST!

by Anonymousreply 19June 17, 2022 8:58 AM

The problem with casting people who have the same disabilities as the character is that there are not "tons" of them available, and the ones who are, are unknowns. Now, I know there's an argument, the same as for some other characteristics, that the reason we don't know of them is because they haven't been given the same opportunities which is a valid argument - but if you don't cast someone who has existing audience recognition to be one of the main stars of your movie, it is unlikely the movie will get made. Movies are financed in part due to the casting - now again that is a whole area to unpack and see whether there are ways to progress from that, but ultimately getting 'a name' is always going to seem like a safer financial choice than an unknown, especially for a hugely expensive blockbuster project.

by Anonymousreply 20June 17, 2022 9:03 AM

I bet that Armie Hammer would claim the role of Hannibal Lector if there would be a remake, cause otherwise it would be cannibal erasure.

by Anonymousreply 21June 17, 2022 9:05 AM

There are tons of blind and paralyzed actresses.

And if there aren't surely you can blind and paralyze an actress.

I nominate Gwyneth Paltrow, who very egregiously wore a fat suit in the movie Shallow Hal.

I'm sure she would love the opportunity to make up for it for her fans.

by Anonymousreply 22June 17, 2022 10:32 AM

[quote] There are tons of blind and paralyzed actresses who are able to take on the role

Really? There are "tons" of actresses who are blind *and* paralyzed? Did they all choose to enter their profession specifically for this role and gender-bending productions of "Endgame" (Beckett, not Marvel)?

by Anonymousreply 23June 17, 2022 11:17 AM

[quote] Critics are blasting Johnson for taking the role from a blind actress or paraplegic actress. “There are tons of blind and paralyzed actresses who are able to take on the role,” say critics. “This is disgusting disability erasure at its finest. Do better.”

I realize that this is about a Hollywood movie and not a “serious” topic, but isn’t it basic journalism 101 that you can’t attribute a verbatim quote to multiple anonymous “critics?” Because I’d like to know exactly who the idiot is who claimed there are tons of blind paraplegic actresses.

by Anonymousreply 24June 17, 2022 11:22 AM

Leslie Uggams, you in trouble, gurl.

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by Anonymousreply 25June 17, 2022 11:24 AM

I doubt she's even playing the original Madam Web (Cassandra Webb - yes, really), long since dead in the comics. She's probably playing the current one, Julia Carpenter, formerly the second Spiderwoman. Plus, where is the fuss about a non-blind actor playing Daredevil for years? Realistically a disabled actor simply couldn't play such a role, unless they just CGI's their face on someone else doing virtually everything.

by Anonymousreply 26June 17, 2022 11:24 AM

It’s interesting that a handful of professional complainers on Twitter can drive a narrative like this. The press loves controversy because it’s more interesting than consensus, and callout culture can find things wrong with *anything* because that’s what callout culture does.

by Anonymousreply 27June 17, 2022 11:26 AM

Dakota has very weak eyes, actually, and tries not to drive at night. People here are being awful with their assumptions.

by Anonymousreply 28June 17, 2022 11:30 AM


by Anonymousreply 29June 17, 2022 1:16 PM

This is another tragic appropriation of another’s culture

by Anonymousreply 30June 17, 2022 2:13 PM

It's called ACTING.

by Anonymousreply 31June 17, 2022 2:15 PM

As ridiculous as this claim is, I really think this article is just repeating several idiots on Twitter in order to piss people off, and is not worth taking seriously or getting worked up about.

by Anonymousreply 32June 17, 2022 2:25 PM

I hate seeing Dakota Johnson in everything and I'm all in favor of blinding and paralyzing her for authenticity. It's not as though she is expressive with her eyes or her movements anyhow.

by Anonymousreply 33June 17, 2022 2:26 PM

Tell me this is an Onion parody article. Please.

by Anonymousreply 34June 17, 2022 2:27 PM

I completely agree R[16].

by Anonymousreply 35June 17, 2022 2:34 PM

R17 Ice Castles was remade some years back lol.

by Anonymousreply 36June 17, 2022 2:35 PM

This role should've gone to someone over 60 (like a Jessica Tandy type).

Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

by Anonymousreply 37June 17, 2022 2:43 PM

So limit te audience to only those who can’t see—they will never know the difference.

by Anonymousreply 38June 17, 2022 2:57 PM

So we have entered a realm now where acting is no longer pretending and make believe?

by Anonymousreply 39June 17, 2022 2:58 PM

Is she "queer?"

All Marvel women are "queer."

by Anonymousreply 40June 17, 2022 3:00 PM

[quote]Movies are financed in part due to the casting - now again that is a whole area to unpack and see whether there are ways to progress from that, but ultimately getting 'a name' is always going to seem like a safer financial choice than an unknown, especially for a hugely expensive blockbuster project.

Like Dakota Johnson is a name. 😂

by Anonymousreply 41June 17, 2022 3:59 PM

[quote] “There are tons of blind and paralyzed actresses who are able to take on the role,” say critics.

There [italic]ARE???[/italic]

What an insane profession for them to choose.

by Anonymousreply 42June 17, 2022 4:05 PM

“critics” = some chronically online people on twitter, most of whom aren’t even disabled. just addicted to outrage.

by Anonymousreply 43June 17, 2022 4:17 PM

Joan Plowright is blind and elderly. Give Maggie Smith a sledgehammer and she can take care of the rest.

by Anonymousreply 44June 17, 2022 4:27 PM

Just imagine how ashamed Leonard Nimoy would be if he were still living.

Playing an actual Vulcan; what the hell was he thinking?

by Anonymousreply 45June 17, 2022 4:30 PM

I think what everyone's missing here is, how the hell is a blind actress going to learn the script? She can't read the script. Maybe someone'll read it to her but like she's really going to remember. She'll just be mouthing gibberish and walking into walls and tripping over cords. What if she walks off the soundstage into traffic? What if she whacks some kid or old lady with those stupid sticks they're always waving around maniacally? Casting Dakota Johnson probably saved people's lives!

by Anonymousreply 46June 17, 2022 4:32 PM

I'm pissed at her in the terrible revisionist version of Persuasion - my favorite Jane Austen story. Netflix has totally destroyed the real meaning of the narrative and the main characters. They have taken a sad but triumphant story and turned it into some coquettish modernized piece of tripe.

If you want to do that then don't misappropriate that title.

by Anonymousreply 47June 17, 2022 4:57 PM

[quote]She'll just be mouthing gibberish and walking into walls and tripping over cords.

Walking?! She’s supposed to be paraplegic. How is she walking or tripping over cords?

[quote]What if she walks off the soundstage into traffic?

Again with the walking. Don’t be ableist. Do better.

by Anonymousreply 48June 17, 2022 7:39 PM

I find it weird how Marvel and Johnson are getting slammed for this. Yet, that movie Come As You Are which came a out a few years ago featured abled bodied actors playing disabled people and no one said shit then. Some cherry picking goes on when it comes to TV shows or movies getting slammed for having abled bodied people playing disabled people. I have wondered why NCIS has never been slammed for having an able bodied actress play the paraplegic wife of one of the characters.

by Anonymousreply 49June 18, 2022 3:48 AM

Last week was a tough one: my doctors told me I am now legally blind due to complications from long COVID and imposter syndrome. I am also paralyzed and gifted with psychic abilities, which allow me to see that I will soon be asked to replace able-ist Dakota Johnson as Madame Web.

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by Anonymousreply 50June 18, 2022 4:30 AM

Audrey you in danger gurl!

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by Anonymousreply 51June 18, 2022 7:52 PM

I would love if Dakota took on a role as mentally challenged woman in an Oscar bait movie and won. It would piss off everyone.

by Anonymousreply 52June 18, 2022 7:56 PM

The actor needs to be a psychic, too. They also come from a marginalized community.

by Anonymousreply 53June 18, 2022 7:58 PM

Judi Dench is old and practically blind. That’s two out of three. Plus, she can act.

by Anonymousreply 54June 18, 2022 8:07 PM

Couldn't find a thread but that Cha Cha Real Smooth film really blows. More like Cha Cha Super Contrived. It is painfully predictable in the 2nd half and that's after a tepid 1st half.

Can't imagine why Apple paid $15M for it.

by Anonymousreply 55June 18, 2022 8:19 PM

Translation: a handful of people complained, but OP is looking for excuses to whine about "woke" people

by Anonymousreply 56June 18, 2022 8:23 PM

Millicent Simmonds is a deaf actress who got her role in A Quiet Place. Her biggest role since has been A Quiet Place 2.

It’s like Hollywood tried really hard to make Gabby Sidibe happen because I think they were all out to prove naysayers wrong about where her career would go after “Precious”.

She totally fizzled out.

by Anonymousreply 57June 18, 2022 8:32 PM

It’s because people didn’t give Maleficent an opportunity and gave all rolls to able actors. She should get this Madam Web biscuit.

by Anonymousreply 58June 18, 2022 8:38 PM

I want to cancel Dakota for her bad acting.

by Anonymousreply 59June 18, 2022 9:04 PM

The question should be, "Does the general public want to see a blind actress or a paraplegic actress?"

The public doesn't mind deaf performers, as long as they are attractive, such as Marlee Matlin, Lauren Ridloff and Millicent Simmonds, to name a few, but does the public want to see a paraplegic actress? Likely not.

The general public sure loves their 'stars'. Most people enjoy celebrity culture and they love looking at beautiful perfect people.

Don't forget, the directors and producers are also thinking about making money on their films, they opt to hire bankable famous actresses without disabilities.

by Anonymousreply 60June 18, 2022 9:05 PM

Soon, everyone in the movies will be unattractive, disabled, with mental problems, and of varying races and identities, including Lobster Boy.

And no one will see a movie ever again.

by Anonymousreply 61June 18, 2022 9:08 PM

Oh boo boo! Boo and Hoo. Nobody owes you stardom or even a job. That’s show biz and it’s inherently unfair. You’re blind, I. A wheel chair and talented? You’ll probably never work as an actor / actress. But guess what? You’re chances of working in any meaningful way was slim no none anyway. I know a guy, tall handsome as fuck and who trained as an actor who considered himself lucky to have been a day player on the soaps, tons of commercials and regional theater before packing it in to become a sucsessful high end real estate broker. But there are others, just as talented and well-trained who never even managed to qualify for an equity card. That’s just the way it is. So Dakota Johnson got the role, she’s an actress and you’re not an actress unless you are acting. She has nothing to apologize for.

by Anonymousreply 62June 18, 2022 9:20 PM

I like to go on the pages of the journalists who write this woke crap (they almost always have Instagram pages) and punt them to space. Do it. They're usually tragic individuals.

by Anonymousreply 63June 18, 2022 9:38 PM

I’ll watch Dakota Johnson in anything. No producer will get funding in casting a blind, unknown actor in a possible franchise production. Investors want their profits!

by Anonymousreply 64June 19, 2022 1:47 AM

Hell in a handbasket, kids. Hell in a handbasket.

by Anonymousreply 65June 19, 2022 2:03 AM

Soon, everyone in the movies will be unattractive, disabled, with mental problems, and of varying races and identities, including Lobster Boy.

Kurt Vonnegut predicted this all.

[quote] In the year 2081, the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General's agents enforce the equality laws, forcing citizens to wear "handicaps": masks for those who are too beautiful, loud radios that disrupt thoughts inside the ears of intelligent people, and heavy weights for the strong or athletic.

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by Anonymousreply 66June 19, 2022 3:07 AM

Patrick Stewart, you in trouble girl!

by Anonymousreply 67June 19, 2022 3:29 AM

She won't a shit, and so the oxygen behind this outrage will die.

by Anonymousreply 68June 19, 2022 3:34 AM

r54, that's exactly who I was thinking of. Judi Dench needs to play a superhero (and I'd bet she has more of a fan base, even among younger audiences, than Johnson).

by Anonymousreply 69June 19, 2022 4:39 AM

R68, I think you’re right. This will be water off Dakota’s duck back and everyone will move on to the next bullshit in 2 days. God, I sound old.

by Anonymousreply 70June 19, 2022 5:12 AM

Goddammit...can't they just hire a REAL Superhero instead of an Actor?

by Anonymousreply 71June 19, 2022 5:17 AM

Because real superheroes can’t act for shit. Just check out this scene. “I am a hell of an hacker but I’m no hero.” “What do you mean?” Cringe.

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by Anonymousreply 72June 19, 2022 5:29 AM

R66 very apt! That will be the 2025 platform, I'm sure.

by Anonymousreply 73June 19, 2022 4:41 PM

The eventual second version of Madme Web didn't go blind until the first version transferred her powers to her before she died. Which also end happening to transfer her blindness too.

by Anonymousreply 74June 22, 2022 10:28 PM

So you’re saying it should be a seeing actress for the first half and then a blind actress for when the blindness is transferred.

by Anonymousreply 75June 22, 2022 10:30 PM

Fuck the haters

by Anonymousreply 76June 22, 2022 10:33 PM

R9. I could do it!

by Anonymousreply 77June 22, 2022 10:48 PM

If Patty Duke was alive, I bet someone in the woke crowd would have dragged her for The Miracle Worker.

by Anonymousreply 78June 23, 2022 1:26 AM

R78, The Miracle Worker has been canceled many times, and it started long before the term was even coined. Helen Keller herself was canceled for her autobiography decades ago because she uses metaphors for senses she doesn't posses: "saw" to mean "understood," and so forth.

by Anonymousreply 79June 23, 2022 1:29 AM
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