Universal Pictures Apologizes for Using Male Voice Actor to Dub Trans Star Laverne Cox in Italian Version of ‘Promising Young Woman’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 25: Laverne Cox attends the "Orange Is The New Black" Final Season World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on July 25, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Universal Pictures has apologized for using a male voice actor to dub transgender actor Laverne Cox in the Italian-language version of the film Promising Young Woman.

“We are deeply grateful to Laverne and the transgender community for opening our eyes to a bias that neither we nor many in our industry had recognised,” the studio said in a statement to The Guardian.

“While there was no malicious intent behind this mistake, we are working diligently to fix it. We have begun redubbing Ms Cox’s voice with female actors in our international territories and are pushing back release dates to ensure the correct version is available,” the statement continued. “We are sorry for the pain caused but are thankful that we can address the situation on this film and prevent similar mistakes from happening again on future projects.”

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Universal Pictures has also reportedly postponed the release of the film — which was supposed to hit Italian cinemas on May 13 — until they can find a female voice-over actor to replace Cox’s character’s voice.

The studio spurred outrage with Italian viewers who took to social media to express their dismay after seeing a promotional clip of the film featuring Cox’s character dubbed in a distinctively masculine voice — belonging to Italian voice-over actor Roberto Pedicini.

Universal Pictures is also going to re-voice versions of the film in other countries, such as Spain and Germany, where a male voice-over actor was initially used for Cox’s character.

In an interview with The Guardian, Italian trans actor and voice actor Vittoria Schisano called the initial dubbing choice a “straight-up act of violence.”

“I think this dubbing choice was a straight-up act of violence,” Schisano said. “It’s insulting. I’d feel bullied if I were [Cox].”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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