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Disney, Why Do Your Villains Have Foreign Accents?

Dear Disney,


I've been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember. From your movies to theme parks, my life has been immensely impacted by your company. You are what comes to mind when I hear the word "childhood." Having Portuguese as my native language, I did not watch your movies in English until recently. However, as I started rewatching your animated movies one question came to mind: why do your villains often have foreign accents?


People are taught from a young age that being foreign is a negative thing. No wonder why nowadays discrimination against international people is deeply present on so many levels. Foreigners are often discriminated against just for being born in a different country. 


Disney, when you make your villains sound foreign you don't dispute the negative image that this population often has to fight. You might be misinterpreted as showing that villains are often those who come from a different culture or social class. I am sure that this is not your intention, but it is something to consider. 


It is not difficult to find examples in which the villain is not American. In the movie The Lion King, Mufasa and Scar are brothers. Then why does Scar, the villain, speak in a British accent? The hyenas have either African American or Hispanic accents. Why? And why does Jafar from Aladdin have a strong Arabic accent that differs from Jasmine and Aladdin’s, despite being from the same country? 


Portraying villains as foreigners is not solely done by your company, Disney, it is done by many. However, given your power and influence, you should take a stand. You have always taught me that dreams come true and that the good always trumps evil. For that reason, I write to you, as I know we share the same values and we both want the world to continuously become a better place.


I admire you so deeply that I kindly ask you to reflect on this issue and show that we, foreigners, can be heroes too.

Ana Clever is a junior at Penn State University majoring in Psychology. Coming from Sao Paulo, Brazil, she is a staff writer for Her Campus at PSU and the president of the Brazilian Student Association. She is passionate about traveling, art, and writing. You can find her on Instagram at @ana_clever.
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