Lupita Nyong’o responds to criticism from disability rights groups over ‘Us’ character portrayal

Nyong'o initially said she'd based her 'doppelgänger' character in the film on someone who was suffering from spasmodic dysphonia

Lupita Nyong’o has responded to criticism from a host of disability rights groups after admitting that she based her doppelgänger character in Us on a person who was suffering with Spasmodic Dysphonia.

Speaking to VarietyNyong’o originally said she created her doppelgänger’s voice after she heard Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who suffers with spasmodic dysphonia, speak at a fashion event.

Nyong’o said: “I was inspired by the condition Spasmodic Dysphonia, which is about trauma – sometimes emotional, sometimes physical – and it creates this spasming in your vocal cords.”


The actress went on to say that her character’s voice is not an imitation of the disability: “It’s inspired by the condition, it’s not an exact replica of the condition.”

Her comments were criticised this week by a number of disability organisations, with several groups claiming that her comments misinformed audiences about the disability and demonised those living with the condition. Nyong’o later released a statement apologising for any distress her comments caused.

“In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonising the condition,” she said. “I crafted Red with love and care. So as much as it is in a very genre-specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real. So for all of that, I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended.”

Us movie rap video
The cast of Us