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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Lawsuit against Netflix Demands Equal Access for the Deaf

June 17, 2011 - Posted by Avril Lighty

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a federal lawsuit against Netflix yesterday alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning for most of its instant and streamed content.

“There is no excuse for Netflix to fail to provide captions so that deaf and hard of hearing customers have access to the same movies and TV shows as everyone else,” said Arlene Mayerson, directing attorney of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. “Netflix admits that there is no technological issue. For people who are deaf and hard of hearing, captions are like ramps for people who use wheelchairs.” 

The ADA requires that all entertainment businesses provide equal access to enjoyment by people with disabilities. If the case is ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, the court could require Netflix to provide closed captions on all of its streaming content. 

“We have tried for years to persuade Netflix to do the right thing and provide equal access to all content across all platforms,” said NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins. “They chose not to serve our community on an equal basis; we must have equal access to the biggest provider of streamed entertainment. As Netflix itself acknowledges, streamed video is the future and we must not be left out.”

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