Yet Hader’s perfectly normal attempt to avoid infection ended up sending a more powerful message than he might have anticipated, particularly for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.
“As a disabled person, the pandemic has been hard for myself and most members of my community. As Hollywood influences popular culture and people’s actions, they’re unfortunately sending a message that the pandemic is over,” Violet Elliot, 23, who has dwarfism, told BuzzFeed News in an email. “Bill Hader wearing a mask is a glimmer of hope that we still have some support from someone influential, that it is socially acceptable to still wear masks in public … and that disabled and immunocompromised lives are valuable.”
This year’s Emmys was a “win for disabled people” beyond Hader’s mask use, Elliot pointed out in a tweet. She highlighted how the event integrated multiple ramps into the stage, provided ASL translators, and gave actor Selma Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, the final award presentation of the night as she supported herself with a cane following a standing ovation.
But the fact that Hader wearing a mask at a crowded, indoor event during a pandemic is newsworthy “is a clear indication that people’s attitudes need to change,” Elliot said.
“We need a vision of the world where out of habit society wears a mask while going out in public, while appropriate,” Elliot said. “Instead of pretending that COVID doesn’t exist, we need to find a way to live with COVID that includes all elements of society.”