Monday, November 16, 2009

Universal Takes Out The Black People


I don't know how many of you have actually seen the movie Couples Retreat, but the story is basically four couples who go on vacation. Notice the poster on the right. That is the poster that was seen in the US. If you squint you can see Faizon Love and Kali Hawk waaaaay in the back. I know it is hard to see them, but they are there and their names are on the poster also.

Well, Universal apparently decided that people in the UK aren't interested in seeing black people at all and so distributed the poster on the left. They removed Faizon and Kali from the poster and adding insult to injury even removed their names from the poster. Instead we get all the white couple front and center and larger than life.

Universal was shocked this was an issue but said that they will use the original poster from now on in every country they release the movie and only did it because they wanted to highlight the stars that global audiences knew the best. Uh huh.

26 comments:

Quintessential Southerner said...

oh, the archaic hollywood machine.

Daveb said...

I suspect the studio was telling the truth when they said they wanted to highlight the stars foreign audiences recognized. However, regardless of their intentions, the outcome was cultural insensitive and just plain stupid.

Pookie said...

half-assed spin.

this saddens me, considering london is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world (meaning large percentage of its population is foreign-born)...granted, london is not all uk...but damn, universal. you suck.

whole_lotto _luv said...

Hmm, and in the UK version they wanted to show that Vince Vaughn got "lei'd."

.robert said...

They should have said "Look at the background, it is a different shot...", idiots.

Nosey Parker said...

Yo Universal, I'm really happy for your movie and I'm gonna let you finish, but Kanye West wrote some of the best lyrics of all time!

I get down for my grandfather who took my momma
Made her sit that seat where white folks ain't wanna us to eat
At the tender age of 6 she was arrested for the sit in
With that in my blood I was born to be different
Now niggas can't make it to ballots to choose leadership
But we can make it to Jacob and to the dealership
That's why I hear new music
And I just don't be feeling it
Racism still alive they just be concealing it
But I know they don't want me in the damn club
They even made me show I.D to get inside of Sam's club
I did dirt and went to church to get my hands scrubbed
Swear I've been baptised at least 3 or 4 times
But in the land where nigga's praise Yukons and getting paid
It gonna take a lot more than coupons to get us saved...

MontanaMarriott said...

Not surprising since this is not the first nor the last time this will be done by the film studios

linnea said...

im totally w daveb here

hmmm said...

This is shameful. It reinforces every poor impression we have that America remains deft with the whitewash brush, despite the passage . A black President and whited-out black actors on a poster for some crappy movie.Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

cough, cough "idiots" cough, cough.

No1uNo said...

Even if they aren't just flat-out lying, and they took two of the main characters out of the poster because they weren't as well known... that still sucks.

Karmen said...

Wow. Assholes.

CarolMR said...

Hollywood is so hypocritical. People in the entertainment industry are so proud of their liberal attitudes, but they don't live them. The people who decided to delete the black couple from the poster probably voted for Obama.

Lisa (original) said...

Shameful, tsk, tsk, tsk (*shakes head)

RocketQueen said...

Anyone else notice that in the N. American version all the men's names are first? Never seen that before.

Tizzy said...

Personally I think the placement of the brown couple in the US poster is kinda offensive too....but I haven't seen the movie, maybe they really ARE that peripheral. Let's hope!

mygeorgie said...

I agree w/ daveb. I looked at the two and before reading the post thought the one on the right was too confusing, little impact. But hey, I've never been on the recieving end of such bullshit.

Melody said...

They are possibly two different shots (although the picture company shuffle seems to suggest otherwise) and while this is a UK poster we're talking about here, how does this say anything about the States, hmmm? It's a dumb perception of what UK audiences want, I'll grant you, but the "whitewash brush" was possibly wielded by an ad exec in the London office and wasn't intended for the US at all. Funny, that perception thing.

jp said...

Gotta love those Republicans and their pranks!

jenna said...

Ok look, I'm British and I actually believe Universal. Nobody here will have heard of those two. I seriously doubt that they were trying to 'white wash' anything. We have movie posters here all the time with black actors on them. Well, black well known actors.

Gemini850 said...

Even the American poster is offensive kind of. The black couple is wayy in the back. Just like 50 years ago....Black people to the back of the bus, white people to the front.

Melody said...

More likely they noticed the cast was uber-white and found a couple of background cast of color for the publicity shots to make the movie poster not wholly appear to be Buffy's Preppie Beach Social.

Captain Angrypants said...

Universal's decision makes perfect sense to me. Marketing is marketing. You don't promote a car's air-conditioning prowess if you're trying to sell it in Alaska. But if you're trying to sell it in New Mexico...

I live in Australia and I've never heard of Kali Hawk and Faizon Love. Quite literally never heard of them. Everyone else on the poster I've heard of. Universal are simply maximizing their product's assets for a different market.

If you want to interpret that in a cynical, hateful way just because of the happenstance of the performers being black, that's your malfunction.

"penisland" is either "pen island" or "penis land", depending on how you interpret it. It's up to you.

West End Girl said...

What Jenna said, I highly doubt anyone in the UK would know who they were, never mind be offended they were taken out.

Mountain out of a mole hill and that's not an attempt to ignore what can be an issue, just not in this case.

caydian said...

Never heard of Kali Hawk and Faizon Love. Movie was awful. Only thing worthwhile was the location.

Simone said...

Because of this bullshit. I will never watch this movie. I'm not a Vince Vaughn fan anyway, and I wasn't in a rush to rent the DVD either, but after this crap, I will never watch it.

It's the principle of the matter.

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