Cleft Lip Groups Hate The Lone Ranger Now Too

Senior Editor
07.23.13 16 Comments


Charities that help kids with cleft lips are angry at The Lone Ranger, let’s see if you can guess why. (Hint: Look at the villain picture directly above these words). It seems a little late to be saying something, since Lone Ranger is a certified bomb and has already dropped out of the box office top 10. Wouldn’t it have been better to just let it quietly die? Loose lips sink ships, fellas.

Organizations condemn the movie for using the facial feature to make a character appear more evil.

Instead, charities are upset that William Fichtner’s Butch Cavendish features a cleft lip, a prosthetic that may have been added in part to make him appear more sinister.

According to the character synopsis, Cavendish’s “terribly scarred face is a perfect reflection of the bottomless pit that passes for his soul.”

I like to imagine the guy writing that thinking he was going to blow people’s minds. “A villain with a scar on his face. People have never SEEN this before!”

Esteban Lasso, executive director of Canadian-based “cleft care” charity Transforming Faces notes that children with cleft lips are often bullied at school or depicted as villains, saying in a statement: “It’s disheartening that a major motion picture would perpetuate this negative perception and we hope that in future, birth defects and facial differences will not be used to portray ‘evil’ characters,” Lasso said.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Cleft Lip and Palate Association called for a boycott of the film ahead of its Aug. 9 British release. [THR]

Haha, “organize a boycott.” They should be heartwarmed to know that people already performed a spontaneous, grass-roots boycott on their own. The world is getting so much more progressive.

“We’re extremely disappointed to see that Disney are once again cashing in on prejudice by giving their villain in the upcoming Lone Ranger movie a very visible cleft lip as part of his ‘look’ as an evil, sinister character. Not only is this incredibly lazy storytelling, it’s also sending a deeply harmful message that will impact the 90,000 people that were born with a cleft in the UK as well as others worldwide.

We would very much like to see people with a cleft represented on the big screen, but actor William Fichtner does not have a cleft himself, and admits that it was added with makeup to complete the ‘look’ of a villain – even saying that thanks to his broken nose and ‘cleft lip’ the role of a sinister villain was easier to slip into. Regardless of intent, the fact remains that review websites and the general public are seeing his ‘cleft lip’ and instead of this fighting the stigma, we are being dragged back into the dark ages with many commenting on how ‘creepy’ and ‘evil’ it made him look.” CLAPA said in a statement.

I don’t think anyone could disagree with “incredibly lazy storytelling.” Not to mention, Disney has a long history of portraying all the “good” characters as flawlessly beautiful and all the evil ones as warty and deformed. What they need to do is to hire Joaquin Phoenix as an official spokesperson, and make sure people know he’s supposed to be a sex symbol. He could be all, “Can’t we all just get along?” And maybe do a freestyle rap about cleft palates.

What do you think about that, Joaquin?

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