"The thought that I would, in a way, offend them was not my intention," Nyong'o said during a visit to The View on Thursday. "In my mind, I wasn't interested in vilifying or demonizing the condition. I crafted Red with love and care."
Nyong'o's apology comes after several disability advocate organizations condemned the actress for revealing that she based Red's halting, croaking voice on spasmodic dysphonia, a condition that causes the voice to spasm that was long believed to be the result of trauma.
“We understand that hearing the unique sound caused by symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia was the spark of inspiration for the voice of this character," the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association said in a statement, after Nyong'o revealed her inspiration to Variety. "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.”
The disorder advocate organization RespectAbility —which reacted to the initial reveal that Nyong'o based her voice on the condition— accepted the actress' apology while calling on Hollywood to avoid the demonization of people with disabilities in the future.
“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.”