Paul Walter Hauser criticises Disney over lack of lyrical captions in Cruella

The 101 Dalmatians prequel does not offer the lyrics in its soundtrack to deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons.

Paul Walter Hauser has attacked Disney bosses over the lack of lyrical captions in Cruella.

For the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, editors used a cover feature to look at how disability is represented in Hollywood.

In the accompanying article, it was noted the Cruella soundtrack – featuring the likes of Bee Gees, The Clash, and Queen – was not accessible to deaf patrons, despite being a crucial part of the film’s narrative.

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin said: “I found out after the fact that studios stopped subtitling lyrics. It deprives us of being able to access the story just like anybody else. I only saw half of the movie. It was a half-a*s movie, basically.”

On Twitter, Hauser, who played thief Horace Badun in the 101 Dalmatians prequel, hit out at executives at Disney and other film studios for their decision not to include the lyrics in the subtitles.

“Just read the article about @MarleeMatlin,” the star wrote. “She saw Cruella (and) there was a total lack of lyrical content represented in her captions. DEAR FILM STUDIOS. Fix this. It’s unfair, awkward (and) rude. You have ungodly amounts of money to aid in this. Absolutely ashamed of you guys.”

IndieWire editor Kristen Lopez noted that the problem also impacted reviews about new movies, because captions are not included on screeners, and press screenings do not offer options for deaf critics.

Hauser responded to that message, saying: “Thank you for making us aware, Kristen. This is an avoidable problem. Studios need to be more thoughtful.”

Disney reps have not issued a comment on the issue.

Cruella is out in cinemas and on Disney+ with Premier Access, before extending to all subscribers on 27 August.

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