While some stars are forced to fix their accent in order to get a specific role, some others appear to be speaking in accents despite not being a part of the said culture and heritage.
- Jan 10, 2021
For celebrities, having thick accents while speaking English might be both good and bad. One might be forced to fix their accent in order to get a specific role. On the other hand, some people appeared to intentionally develop some accents because people thought it was exotic.
That was probably the reason why some stars allegedly faked accents while speaking English. Some others seemingly felt the need to speak in certain accents in order to adapt in a new place. Obviously, for whatever reasons it maybe, faking accents is not appreaciated as the backlash was almost immediate.
Here are some celebrities who were under fire after being accused of appropriating one culture by faking their accent.
1. Hilaria Baldwin
Hilaria Baldwin made headlines for her alleged fake Spanish accent. After being accused of impersonating a Spanish person, the wife of actor Alec Baldwin addressed the matter in an Instagram video in December 2020 in which she set the record straight about her identity and culture. While the 36-year-old confirmed that she was born in Boston, she claimed that she “spent some of my childhood in Boston, some of my childhood in Spain,” adding that she “grew up speaking two languages.”
Amid the scandal, both Alec and Hilaria’s stepdaughter Ireland Baldwin came to her defense. Blaming social media anonymity for enabling the attack on his wife, the “30 Rock” alum said on Instagram, “People feel that they can say anything. They can say anything. They probably would like to do anything if they weren’t at risk of getting caught and going to prison.” As for Ireland, the model shared that she loves her “step mom very much,” calling the yoga instructor “a strong, kind, and a caring human being.”
2. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow did a great job speaking in British accent in movies such as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Sliding Doors“. During her appearance on “Saturday Night Live” monologue back in 1999, the “Avengers: Endgame” actress even joked that she was born in England instead of Los Angeles.
However, it seemed the accent lingered when she moved to England with her then-husband Chris Martin, prompting people to accuse her of putting on the accent in purpose. The “Country Strong” actress even claimed that her children, Apple and Moses, developed “weird accents,” explaining in a 2010 interview, “Weirdly my son is half Brooklyn and half English, he’s got a really strange accent and my daughter is completely American with me at home or in America but completely British at school. It’s bizarre.”
3. Chet Hanks
Also making headlines over controversial fake accent was Chet Hanks. The son of Tom Hanks sparked outrage after he spoke in bizarre Jamaican Patois, an English-based creole language that has West African influences, while gracing the Golden Globes red carpet in 2020 after joining Clubhouse.
Catching wind of criticism that he was doing a verbal blackface, Chet defended himself, “Guys, it’s really as simple as this, if I get on a binge and I watch a bunch of English gangster movies, and I go around, ordering a coffee at Starbucks and I’m with my friend and I go, ‘Give me a latte, guvna.’ I’m not s***ing on English people.”
4. Dorit Kemsley
“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley was caught in a scandal shortly after she made her debut on the Bravo reality TV show back in 2016. At the time, Erika Girardi infamously called her out after speaking in what sounds like a British accent. “You’re an American. You were born in Connecticut,” Erika slammed Dorit.
Justifying herself, Dorit shared on Bravo’s The Daily Dish in February 2017, “When you’ve traveled the world, you can speak in any accent you want.” Referring to her husband P.K., she went on to say, “I am married to a Brit who’s got a very, very strong London accent, and I’m sure some of his inflections have sort of rolled over on me. My parents are not American. I was born and raised in America. I did spend a significant amount of time, nearly 10 years, back and forth going to Europe. … That’s who I am. That’s the way I speak.”
5. Lindsay Lohan
As for Lindsay Lohan, she sparked chatter after speaking in mixed accents. She first showcased the bizarre new accent, which she claimed to be “a mixture of most of the languages I can understand or am trying to learn,” at the opening of a Greek nightclub in October 2016. The “Mean Girls” actress went on to explain in an interview in November of the same year, “I’ve been learning different languages since I was a child. I’m fluent in English and French, can understand Russian and am learning Turkish, Italian and Arabic.”
Among those who shaded Lindsay over her accent was Kim Kardashian, who clapped back at Lindsay after the latter said that her braids were “confusing” in January 2018. Fiercely firing back at the former Disney star, the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star tweeted, “@linsdaylohan you know what’s confusing…..your sudden foreign accent.” Lindsay seemed to be opting out the accent as of June 2018.
Faking accent is one of the things that Madonna regrets doing. Back in the early 2000s, the iconic singer was under fire after being accused of faking her British accent when she was married to British director Guy Ritchie. “She does naturally pick up on languages and sounds of people around her,” a representative for the “La Isla Bonita” singer responded to the criticism at the time. “It’s certainly not meant as an effect. When she’s back in New York for a while, she gets right into the New Yawk sound.”
Madonna herself wasn’t proud of her bonker British accent. “I didn’t know what anyone was talking about until I heard old interviews of myself,” she said in a January 2020 interview. “And then I was horrified and flabbergasted. Why did you let me do that to myself? I’m from Michigan! It’s all Guy Ritchie’s fault. He made me to it.”
7. Meghan Markle
Madonna isn’t the only one who was accused of faking her British accent after getting married to a British. Social media users slammed Meghan Markle for allegedly speaking with a slight British accent less than two months after tying the knot with Prince Harry back in 2018. The speculations arose after a clip from her public appearance with Queen Elizabeth II in Cheshire, England, saw her saying in a voice change, “We all had a great day, I think … The sun was shining for us.”
“Meghan Markle is a lil phony for that fake British accent coming through. But if I became British royalty you’d see me day 2 saying pip pip cheerio,” one critic tweeted sarcastically at the time. Language expert Patti Wood, however, defended the Duchess of Sussex for picking up the accent after living in the U.K. “Even in brief phone calls with friends and family you may begin to subconsciously match and mirror your partner,” she explained. “When you love someone you often match and mirror their body language and paralanguage, (aspects of the voice like tone, tempo, accent, and speaking rate) when you are with them.”
8. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj was also among those who were accused of impersonating a British accent early in her career. The “Anaconda” raptress, however, admitted that she was indeed faking the accent because she loved it. She even openly discussed how she learned it, crediting Mel B (Melanie Brown) from Spice Girls and Hermione, a “Harry Potter” character played by Emma Watson in its movie series.
“There are so many, but one person was Scary Spice,” Nicki, who was born in the Saint James district of Port of Spain and raised in the Queens borough of New York City, explained to The Guardian back in 2012. “I used to listen to her all the time and try to make the same faces she’d make when she was talking. Oh, and Hermione from ‘Harry Potter’.”
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