Campaigner Calls for Villains in Movies To Stop Having Disfigurements

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In lots of forms of media, the villain characters are often portrayed as stereotypically disfigured. But now one activist is making it her priority to change all that…


The conversation was sparked by Rami Malek’s appearance in the new Bond movie, No Time To Die.


He’s playing the villain, Safin, complete with dramatic facial scarring.
And campaigner Tulsi Vagjiani has had enough.


Tulsi survived a plane crash and was left with burns on her face and body.

She now campaigns with Charming Faces to lift the stigma about facial disfigurements.


This week, she was interviewed on Sky News about the use of facial disfigurement as a plot device.

“Often we get messages saying, ‘I’ve experienced a negative message, I’ve been compared to a villain in a film’, myself included – I got referred to as Freddy Kreuger,” she explained. “So the more we heard this, the more we realized we need to campaign for change in popular culture, and film and TV.”


​”Three years ago we launched the same kind of concept: I Am Not Your Villain. And the British Film Institute pledged to say that they won’t be funding any further films with a villain with a disfigurement.”

“Now, here we are – you know, James Bond and yet again the villain has a disfigurement, and it just brings about really negative connotations. We need to change this – not just for the generation now, but for those who are really young at the moment and going through their own journey with having a visible difference.”


One Facebook user agrees, adding: “It’s the same as always if a certain category of human is ALWAYS portrayed in the same kind of role, it creates a connection in people’s minds between the category and the role, whether that be positive or negative. What they need to do is mix it up and not consistently portray, as in this example, disfigured people in bad guy roles.”

Where do you stand on this debate?