#LupitaNyongo is apologizing after receiving backlash for saying that one of the characters she plays in “Us” was inspired by a disorder.
During an interview with #Variety, Lupita said she drew inspiration for the voice of her character “Red” from #spasmodicdysphonia. The disorder impacts people who have experienced emotional or physical trauma and causes a person’s voice to go into periods of spasm, according to @nbcnews.
“The thought that I would, in a way, offend them was not my intention,” she said on #TheView. “In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonizing the condition. I crafted Red with love and care.”
Lupita plays both the main character Adelaide Wilson and her doppleganger Red. The disorder she was referring to affects about 50,000 people in North America and is triggered by “illnesses such as viral infection, head trauma, bronchitis, surgery, or a stressful event,” according to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association.
The association says that the number of people affected by the disorder varies because some with it are not diagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Lupita’s comments drew criticism from disability and disorder organizations.
“The issue at hand is that in order to intentionally achieve a creepy effect, the creative choice was to make the character have a disability — and demonizing the disability,” said RespectAbility, a nonprofit which fights stigmas placed on people with disabilities.
Lupita said she didn’t mean any harm and wanted to shed light on the disorder.
“In mentioning, spasmodic dysphonia, I may have been disproportionate to what it actually is in the film,” she said. “I say sorry to anyone I may have offended.”
A spokesperson for RespectAbility said it a statement today that the organization appreciates Lupita’s apology, but said the practice of using disabilities to villainize a movie character “needs to end.”
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TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh