SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area mother of a child with Down syndrome and a big fan of animated Disney movies has gathered tens of thousands of signatures in a petition urging the studio to show characters with Down syndrome as heroes.
Keston Ott-Dahl, who has a 15-month-old daughter with Down syndrome, told the Orlando Sentinel that her child has no real Disney role models to relate to in her favorite animated films, such as the Academy Award-winning “Frozen.”
“As Disney portrays people [with Down syndrome], they can teach future generations to be more compassionate and more accepting and unjudgmental of kids who are not like them,” Ott-Dahl told the newspaper.
Characters with disabilities have been represented in a few Disney animated movies, such as Nemo in the 2003 film “Finding Nemo” and the 1996 film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The online petition, directed to Walt Disney Studios president Sean Bailey, has gathered nearly 33,000 signatures as of Friday night.