Advocacy Group Responds To Lupita Nyong’o Apology For Basing ‘US’ Character On Disability

Published: Saturday 30th Mar 2019 by Rashad

Despite being showered with critical acclaim for a gripping performance in her latest box office blockbuster, ‘US,’ actress Lupita Nyong’o‘s vocal alterations for the role – which she’s stated was inspired by the condition Spasmodic Dysphonia – earned her headline grabbing jeers from disability advocates.

Details inside:

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Spasmodic Dysphonia, a muscular disorder that distorts the sounds of a person’s voice, became a hot topic when the Oscar winner took to Variety to say:

“I was inspired by the condition Spasmodic Dysphonia which is about from a trauma—sometimes emotional, sometimes physical—and it creates this spasming in your vocal cords,” Nyong’o stated. “It’s inspired by the condition, it’s not an exact replica of the condition.”

Once word landed on the desk of the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA), the organization released a statement condemning the film for its villainous depiction of the condition.

“We understand that hearing the unique sound caused by symptoms of Spasmodic dysphonia was the spark of inspiration for the voice of this character,” NSDA said of Nyong’o’s character. “What is difficult for us, and for the thousands of people living with spasmodic dysphonia, is this association to their voice with what might be considered haunting.”

To add, after Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility (a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas of people with disabilities), issued a statement calling Nyong’o’s performance ‘marginalizing,’ NSDA director Kim Kuman said:

“Spasmodic dysphonia is not a creepy voice; it’s not a scary voice. It’s a disability that people are living with and shouldn’t be judged upon.”

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The hoopla led the actress to offer a formal apology on ‘The View’ recently (March 28):

“The thought that I would, in a way, offend them was not my intention,” Nyong’o said on Thursday. “In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonizing the condition. I crafted Red with love and care.”

To which the advocacy group responded:

“We appreciate Lupita Nyong’o’s heartfelt apology…We hope Nyong’o will use this experience to continue lifting up all marginalized groups including the 1-in-5 people who live with disabilities,” they said. “In general, the Hollywood practice of using disability primarily to villainize people or to show them as objects of pity needs to end.” 

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  1. Chillitsjustpizza March 30, 2019

    These Hollywood people are truly sick in the head. Why would she even admit that🤔

    • mb March 31, 2019

      You are just sensitive get over it!

  2. It’s a shame March 30, 2019

    🙄….girl bye. She didn’t mean anything negative by what she said and expertly explained what and how she crafted this character….

  3. #TheTruth March 30, 2019

    People need to stop seeing negative things in every little sh!t. It’s like they are trying way too hard to be offended or create controversy. Bye.

  4. eric March 30, 2019

    Did they even watch the movie? The voice wasn’t even intended to be scary. It was to humanize the character and show a person who has been traumatized, which was clear in the dialogue when we first heard the character speak. That first scene plants a seed of empathy in the viewer which is central to the twist at the end of the story. They should actually see the film before villainizing Lupita the same way they’re accusing her of doing. She did not owe an apology and I’m sorry she was made to feel like she had to give one.

  5. Whoops 🤷🏽‍♀️🤭💅🏾 March 30, 2019

    But… She wasn’t using the voice to sound creepy. This is so dumb, she didn’t need to apologize for this.

  6. Ummm March 31, 2019

    She’s right to say sorry, I thought it was bang out of order. Very offensive for people who have that condiction.

  7. Ronnie March 31, 2019

    Dumb. Just people wanting to complain, if the movie wasn’t a huge success I bet they would’ve never even issued a statement. If you watched the film you would see what causes Her voice to become that way. More tragic and sad than scary in my opinion. But Lupita is a class act so of course her apology is from the heart, I just don’t believe she has anything to be sorry about.

  8. JA_LA March 31, 2019

    Sometimes it’s really hard for me to like humans. This is the dumbest thing ever. Everyone just wants a reason to be offended and wants to get public apologies and free promotion. Most people wouldn’t even know about this condition in Lupita hadn’t mentioned it, so…you’re welcome.

    • JA_LA March 31, 2019

      ^^IF Lupita hadn’t mentioned it*

  9. Jason March 31, 2019

    She gave a MASTERFUL performance, and I know she didn’t mean any harm. If anything, this attention will shine a light on this disorder and hopefully allow people to do more research to fully understand the condition.

  10. Opp March 31, 2019

    To the people that are saying she doesn’t need to say sorry and aren’t offended. You can’t tell others not to be offended. You probably aren’t disabled and it doesn’t affect you. You don’t get to say no apology need, cause you don’t speak for everyone. Mimicking disabled people for entertainment isn’t OK.

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