Hiki and Getty Images Campaign Combats Visual Stereotypes of the Autistic Community
Jun 20, 2023
#AutisticOutLoud aims to deliver new visual content depicting the resiliency and diversity of the autistic community.
New York – June 20, 2023: Hiki, the world’s largest friendship and dating app for the Autistic community, has partnered with Getty Images (NYSE: GETY), a preeminent global visual content creator and marketplace, to launch #AutisticOutLoud, a Custom Content initiative to increase authentic representation of autistic people through the lens of the community.
Today, about 15‑20% of the population worldwide is considered to be neurodivergent, spanning different genders, ages, races, and more . Bringing in content creators and photographers who identify as autistic, the #AutisticOutLoud campaign features a curated gallery of images and videos that show the diversity and resilience of the community. The creators will also become part of Getty Images’ global contributor network.
“The autistic community is not a monolith,” says Jamil Karriem, Founder and CEO, Hiki. “Yet in media and entertainment, they’re often infantilized or stereotyped as savants with a voice that typically centers the experience of white males. At Hiki, our mission is to connect all people across the autistic community, and give them a place where their identities and lived experiences can be honored and validated. A crucial part of that is for the autistic community to be seen for all of their tremendous differences and nuances as unique individuals.”
Hiki is working with a cross‑agency WPP team, led by global media agency network Mindshare, who has led the partnership with Getty Images. The WPP team also includes agencies VMLY&R and Set Creative working on creative branding, strategy, and more.
“Working in media and as someone who is autistic, I was tired of seeing the regressive, disempowering images of autistic folks in mass media that are at odds with the community I know – one that is highly expansive and creative,” says Rachel Lowenstein, one of the autistic content creators featured in this campaign and a lead on this project as Global Head of Inclusive Innovation, Mindshare. “I’m proud of this project as an opportunity for our industry to reshape media to be more representative to a community that has long been spoken over and for, by centering our own expressions. That’s why we called it #AutisticOutLoud.”
Building on the work Getty Images has undertaken to accurately represent the disability community at large, content created as part of this initiative will live on Getty Images’ Disability Collection and Unsplash, and will be available for commercial use by media platforms and publishers worldwide to help drive awareness in the industry. At launch, ten autistic Getty Images’ Custom Content photographers and videographers will create content as part of the brief.
“We’re excited to be a part of this initiative and bring in new perspectives from talented creators who very much represent the diversity of the autistic community,” said Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images. “This content is another step in our ongoing work of visualizing disability and our aim is to emphasize to content creators, brands and agencies the true nature of our global community.”
Getty Images and Mindshare are also working to bring the content from #AutisticOutLoud to supportive partners and publishers including the Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women, and others.
Sara Denby, Head of the Unstereotype Alliance Secretariat at UN Women: “People living with a disability are hugely underrepresented and often misrepresented in advertising content around the world. Having autistic creators and contributors at the helm of #AutisticOutLoud is so important to reshape the stereotypes and visual narratives attached to this community. We look forward to seeing this exemplary initiative come to life and help change perceptions around the world.”
Gillis Williams, Autistic Content Creator: “I wanted to be a part of this project because I realize there needs to be more realistic autism representation in the media and while this project won’t completely solve the issues, it is a good stepping stone for it.”
Eddy Herty, VP and National Creative Director at OUTFRONT Media: “OOH provides one of the largest and most impactful stages for important messaging. We are proud to feature content generated by the autistic community to bring broader visibility in communities across America.”
 Source: Doyle, N. “Neurodiversity at work: a biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults.”
Image credit: Paff Evara/Getty Images