Marlee Matlin condemned Elon Musk for cutting Twitter’s accessibility team Thursday, noting that the change compromises what once was a “barrier-free game changer” for disabled people.
“During my 12 years on Twitter, I have advocated for diversity, equity, inclusion AND accessibility, on behalf of [of] millions of us who are Deaf, hard of hearing or disabled,” Matlin wrote. “This platform has virtually leveled the playing field for all of us but, particularly, for people like myself; this space has evolved into a barrier-free game changer.”
“Yet, with news of the dismantling of Twitter’s Accessibility Team, I’d like to ask @elonmusk, (as someone who has self-identified as having autism spectrum disorder), why would you do this? she continued. “Is it time to take a stand on principle and pause our accounts until this is rectified?”
The accessibility team was just one of many teams across the company that were eliminated in early rounds of playoffs after Musk took over control of the app following his $44 billion acquisition.
“So, the Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter is no longer,” wrote Gerard K. Cohen, the former engineering manager for the Accessibility Experience Team. “We had so much more to do, but we worked hard! There aren’t very many people that have had the opportunity to make such an important global platform like Twitter accessible, but we understood the mission.”
The “CODA” actor, who has historically been a fierce advocate for the deaf community also shared an AdWeek article titled “The Future of Access at Twitter Is in Jeopardy,” which lays out the concerns associated with eliminating the company’s accessibility team.
“The future of accessibility—and most areas of diversity equity and inclusion—at Twitter has seemingly been put on the back burner in the name of capitalism, pettiness, and a misguided understanding of free speech,” the article reads, urging advertisers to demand that Twitter its accessibility work.