Letter: 'Crash' and the disabled

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The Independent Online
Sir: Thomas Sutcliffe (Tabloid, 20 March) makes assertions about the British Board of Film Classification's screening of Crash for the disabled that are factually incorrect and rooted in a patronising attitude towards us, the disabled.

As the disabled co-ordinator of the screening for the disabled, I not only instigated the idea of the screening - "the disabled" went to the BBFC, not vice versa - but was responsible for which disabled people attended the screening. On that basis alone it is unfair to accuse James Ferman of an act of tactical protection, as I am in no way connected to the BBFC; Ferman is to be commended for his inclusive attitude not condemned.

The reason the BBFC accepted my offer of critical advice on the disability imagery in Crash was that the disability imagery in it was given as the number one reason by Westninster City Council when they banned it - to ask us as experts for an opinion was logical (and brave).

Sutcliffe is also wrong to assert that the disabled audience was "presumably a cross section of society" and that they were "unoffended". We were far from an average cross-section of society - if anything, we were a little too like Sutcliffe himself (white middle-class liberals). The audience was chosen with regard to their specialist knowledge about disability, film and media processes; a combination of film critics, theorists, film- makers and performers, and experienced journalists. Equally, we had degrees and/or media-relevant postgraduate qualifications.

On the issue of being "unoffended", I think it is safe to say that most of the audience were "offended" to some degree; but isn't that the point of the film? Of the group in attendance only one person thought the film was of any artistic merit (me).