In a number of incidents of discrimination recorded by a modelling talent agency for disabled people, one model whose arm was amputated said she was told by a recruiter to “move on” during a casting call for London Fashion Week.
According to a report in The Times, model Jue Snell said she had been queuing at a table among hundreds of models when a woman held up her hand to her and said: “We don’t do disabled, move on.”
The incident was recorded by Zebedee Management, a specialist talent agency representing people with disabilities in fashion, media and the arts.
The agency helped catapult British teenager Ellie Goldstein into the spotlight as she became the first model with Down’s Syndrome to model for Gucci.
Snell, 41, developed sepsis after she was electrocuted wile plugging in her laptop and had her lower left arm amputated in March 2015. She told The Times she attended the casting in February last year, which was held by Fashion Scout.
She said a man at another auditioning table looked at her arm and asked: “What is that?” before telling her: “No, move on.”
“I’ve been through a lot, I’m quite a tough cookie, but I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone make me feel as different and as worthless, really, as what they did,” said the Cheshire-based model and mother of two.
Fashion Scout, which organised off-schedule shows for emerging designers during London Fashion Week, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to hear about Jue Snell’s experience and the impact it has had on her.
“We would like to truly apologise for any discrimination and unfairness she experienced or felt whilst at one of the events we have hosted.”
Zebedee Management was co-founded by Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor in 2017 to champion for diversity and disability representation in the UK.
Research by Lloyds Bank in 2020 showed that less than 20 per cent of adverts in the UK feature minority groups, with only 0.06 per cent featuring disabled people despite a fifth of the population being recorded as disabled.
Johnson told the newspaper that the industry has shown some improvement but is not progressing fast enough.
She said normalising the casting of people with disabilities will create a less discriminatory environment “because you’re working with disabled people on set more often”.
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