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Disability advocates call new Bond movie villain’s facial disfigurement ‘degrading’

Rami Malek in No Time To Die

Disability advocates are disgusted by the ‘degrading’ and ‘dehumanising’ use of facial disfigurements in the new James Bond film.

In No Time To Die, the latest 007 movie which stars Daniel Craig as Bond, Rami Malek and Christopher Waltz, both of whom play villains with facial disfigurements.

Phyllida Swift, the CEO of Face Equality International, an union of charities which works to raise awareness of ‘face equality’ and supports people with facial differences, lashed out at the new movie.

Swift said, “At Face Equality International, we collectively campaign across the globe to protect people with facial disfigurements from harm, prejudice and inequality.

“Once again, we are seeing a film that permits the degrading, dehumanising treatment of our communities, which was proven when the Graham Norton show mocked facial differences when interviewing the Bond actors last week.”

On The Graham Norton Show, which aired on September 24, the presenter said, ‘Bond villains don’t have much luck with their complexions’, while showing numerous photographs of villains with scarring and facial disfigurements throughout the Bond series’ history.

Swift added, “This is not simply an outdated stereotype, or a poor creative choice, this is indicative of a society that doesn’t see facial difference as an equality issue worthy of respect and consideration.”

The Bond films have a habit of portraying villains with facial scarring and disfigurement.

In 2006’s Casino Royale, Mads Mikkelsen’s evil Le Chiffre had a damaged eye, and Javier Bardem’s villainous character in Skyfall (2012) had a contorted jaw and teeth.

Author Jen Campbell also brought attention to the issue on social media. She wrote on Twitter, “Every time a new James Bond film is made, the producers are asked to reconsider their representation of disfigurement. Every time, they say they don’t care.

“The new film, out this week, is no exception. This time, two villains with facial disfigurements. Lucky us.”

Due to a 2018 project called ‘I Am Not Your Villain’, organized by Changing Faces, part of Face Equality International, the British Film Institute made the decision to stop funding films in which villains are portrayed with facial disfigurements or scarring.

The awareness movement said that filmmakers have a history of aligning physical disfigurement with evil or fear.  It called on film producers, production companies and directors to stop using scars, burns or marks as a symbol for wickedness.

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