Whether she’s sewing in killer weaves or doing the Time Warp, Miss Lavrene Cox is a whole versatile icon and activist. It’s surprising then, that a studio as large as Universal would allow for the star to be misgendered in an international dubbing of Promising Young Woman. That’s right, Universal Pictures cast male actors to dub over Laverne’s role for the film’s Italian, German, and Spanish releases. There’s a severe lack of Trans representation in the mainstream media outside of Laverne and a few others, so it’s no wonder the studio faced the receiving end of brutal but deserved backlash for this glaring oversight.
One thing that’s become increasingly evident in this social media age is that applying public pressure on private corporations sometimes works. This case was a prime example as public backlash triggered an apology from Universal Pictures International (that seemed to dodge full accountability.) It reads:
“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. 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. 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.”
So, okay...no malicious intent. But, as AV Club points out, there was intent. While the damage has been done with the Spanish release having been out for almost a month now, at least no further versions with male dubbing will see any release. Here’s hoping there other studios are taking notes of what not to do.