ACB, et al. v. Hulu LLC
Disability Rights Advocates represents a coalition of individuals and advocacy groups in litigation against Hulu, LLC to end the video streaming company’s ongoing exclusion of blind and visually impaired Americans. Hulu, one of the largest online-streaming services in the country, offers thousands of shows and movies, including award-winning original content, to most customers at the click of a mouse. However, the company fails to provide audio description—a separate audio track that blind and visually impaired people need in order to access the exclusively visual content of a show or movie—for any streaming videos.
Because Hulu fails to include audio description tracks on any of its streaming content, blind and visually impaired individuals cannot independently enjoy Hulu’s video streaming services. Audio description is a separate audio track that, when activated, provides a verbal description of visual elements on screen. The audio description track plays between pauses in dialogue. Hulu boasts an extensive library of live TV and on-demand movies and series—including its Emmy-award winning original series, “The Handmaid’s Tale”—but currently excludes customers who are blind and visually impaired.
In addition, Hulu’s website and applications are not accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals who use screen readers to navigate the internet. A screen reader is software that converts the visually displayed content on the screen into audible, synthesized speech or outputs that information on a digital braille display.
American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind, and blind individuals brought this putative class action to end Hulu’s discriminatory business practices, but do not seek monetary damages. Disability Rights Advocates and the Disability Law Center, Massachusetts’s Protection and Advocacy system, represent these individuals and organizations.
If you are blind or visually impaired and have either confronted access barriers yourself while using Hulu, or have chosen not to subscribe to Hulu because you have heard about access barriers, to share your experiences, please contact DRA by phone at (510) 665-8644.