Marlee Matlin criticizes CBS for excluding ASL performances

  • Deaf artists Shaheem Sanchez, Anjel Piñero, and Daniel Durant were not featured during the live Super Bowl LVIII broadcast
  • Marlee Matlin expresses shock and disappointment at CBS for not showing the performances
  • Matlin highlights the importance of sign language for the Deaf community
  • This incident follows Matlin’s previous advocacy for accessibility at the Sundance Film Festival


Marlee Matlin, the renowned Deaf actress and activist, has called out CBS for not featuring American Sign Language (ASL) performers during the live broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII. The network introduced Deaf artists Shaheem Sanchez, Anjel Piñero, and Daniel Durant before their performances, but failed to show any footage of their ASL interpretations during the game. Matlin expressed her shock and disappointment on social media, questioning why CBS would break the tradition of showcasing the ASL performances that has been followed for the past 30 years.

The Importance of ASL

Matlin’s Response to Elon Musk

Prior to the Super Bowl incident, Matlin engaged with Elon Musk on social media after he questioned the need for sign language if videos were subtitled. Matlin, who is fluent in both ASL and English, explained that ASL is not just a visual representation of English but a unique language with its own grammar and cultural nuances. For Deaf individuals who rely solely on ASL, having a signer on screen provides them with equal access to the content.

Advocacy for Accessibility

Matlin’s Walkout at Sundance Film Festival

This is not the first time Matlin has advocated for accessibility in the entertainment industry. In 2023, she was a jury member at the Sundance Film Festival and walked out of a screening when the festival failed to provide captions for the audience. Matlin’s actions highlighted the importance of providing equal access to films for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. The festival later issued a statement acknowledging the malfunction and committing to rectifying the issue for future screenings.


Marlee Matlin’s call out of CBS for not featuring the ASL performances during the Super Bowl brings attention to the ongoing need for accessibility and inclusion in the entertainment industry. By highlighting the unique linguistic and cultural aspects of ASL, Matlin emphasizes the importance of providing equal access to content for Deaf individuals. This incident serves as a reminder that accessibility should not be overlooked, and that efforts should be made to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to fully engage with and enjoy live events and broadcasts.

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