Natalie Viscuso Controversy & Allegations Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Henry Cavill, Natalie Viscuso

Following her pregnancy announcement, Henry Cavill's girlfriend Natalie Viscuso is facing controversy and racist allegations for actions 16 years ago.

British A-lister Cavill started dating Viscuso three years ago, with the two first spotted coupled up in April 2021 by the Daily Mail. The former Superman actor would make the relationship official on Instagram just days later.

The Hollywood couple, who usually remain private, have gone viral again after Cavill confirmed to Access Hollywood he and Viscuso are expecting their first child.

Natalie Viscuso's Blackface Controversy 

The controversy surrounding Natalie Viscuso began largely in April 2021 as her relationship with Henry Cavill went public. It was then she faced allegations of racism and cultural appropriation due to past images resurfacing where much of her body is colored brown and donning African tribal attire.

Natalie Viscuso, Blackface, Controversy
Natalie Viscuso

Viscuso, a former reality TV star who now serves as vice president of television and digital studios at Legendary Entertainment, took a trip to Namibia, Africa in 2008 as part of an MTV reality series when she was about 18 years old.

It was here the pictures were taken of Viscuso in the region's tribal attire with her skin from the neck down colored brown. Some online have used this to claim Viscuso was essentially doing blackface, calling her attire cultural appropriation.

The Daily Mail suggested the colored pigment across Henry Cavill's now-girlfriend may be Otjize, which is made out of butterfat and ochre and is used by Namibia's indigenous Himba people to protect themselves from the intense climates.

Viscuso spoke to the Daily Mail in April 2021 as the controversy arose after her relationship with Cavill became public. The former reality TV star explained her skin was painted by the Namibian locals with which she was living as "part of an initiation ceremony and an acceptance into their culture:" 

"'Firstly, I'd like to say that I'm sorry if this image surfacing has caused any offense. It is a photo from 2008 for a TV show in Namibia. The tribe I was living with painted my skin as part of an initiation ceremony and an acceptance into their culture."

She added how, at the time, she never saw how it could be offensive, but added how it is "important that [she recognizes] that this is potentially hurtful" and offered her "most since apologies:"

"Never in a million years did I think that this would be offensive, in fact, I felt honored that they would initiate me. However, with the lessons that we are all learning in today's climate, it is important that I recognize that this is potentially hurtful. My deepest and most sincere apologies."

The resurfacing of these images even spawned calls for Cavill to be replaced as the lead of Netflix's The Witcher due to his association with Viscuso. The British actor would go on to vacate the role of Geralt of Rivia after Season 3 anyway, with Liam Hemsworth set to take over his monster-hunting duties for Season 4.

A petition was set up by one user, calling for next to "Replace racist Henry Cavill on Netflix's The Witcher." The description attributed these allegations of him being racist to his relationship with Viscuso, noting her apparent blackface and claiming "the N-word is used casually by her group of friends."

It should be noted there does not appear to be any evidence supporting this claim that Viscuso and her friend group regularly use the N-word.

Of course, Cavill's exit from The Witcher in October 2022 had no connection to Viscuso's controversy and the petition calling for his firing, which only received 82 signatures but was heavily discussed online.

Those looking to keep up with Natalie Viscuso can find her active on Instagram.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.