20th Century Fox made a public apology today over one of its billboards advertising X-Men: Apocalypse. The advert in question features the movie’s tyrannical baddie Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) holding Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) by the throat, effectively choking her. It’s not the first time this image was used for the marketing campaign; it’s been the center of its promotional materials featuring in TV spots, teasers, and posters.
“There is a major problem when the men and women at 20th Century Fox think casual violence against women is the way to market a film. There is no context in the ad, just a woman getting strangled. The fact that no one flagged this is offensive and frankly, stupid. The geniuses behind this, and I use that term lightly, need to to take a long hard look at the mirror and see how they are contributing to society. Imagine if it were a black man being strangled by a white man, or a gay male being strangled by a hetero? The outcry would be enormous.
“So let’s right this wrong. 20th Century Fox, since you can’t manage to put any women directors on your slate for the next two years, how about you at least replace your ad?”
Today, Fox officials responded to the public backlash – which is about time really, as it’s not a particularly tasteful piece of cinema art. Along with removing the specific billboard McGowan referred to they, issued this statement:
“In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse [Isaac] we didn’t immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form. Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologize for our actions and would never condone violence against women.”
It’s a shame that it took the studio so long to realize that, out of context of the film, this type of visual doesn’t send a positive message to audiences. With X-Men: Apocalypse lagging quite far behind in the box office stakes compared to its predecessor, this snafu is really the last thing Bryan Singer needed.