Here’s the poster for 20th Century Fox’s recently opened X-Men: Apocalypse:
It’s a decent enough poster, features the pertinent players, and it certainly gets your attention. I guess someone thought it wasn’t quite over-the-top enough though, because this billboard started showing up across the country,
and not just in the usual poster-size and form, but as a huge billboard, so people driving or far off can get a good look at Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique being choked by Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse, and the larger-than-life, terrified expression on her face. Any reasonable person who sees this kind of ad is going to have a strong, involuntary reaction, and I don’t even want to think about someone who has actually suffered any similar kind of attack — it’s got to be traumatizing. Not having seen the film and therefore, without any context, I can’t comment on the event as a whole. But, just seeing this small form, on a computer screen is enough for me. I’d have less of an inclination than I did before to see the film, and the person who chose this shot for an ad should be immediately terminated from employment. Is there violence in film? Of course. Do we all make choices to watch films with violence against people? Yes. Is it appropriate to shove this kind of image in our faces — taking into account this is visible to innumerable people of all different ages — in the name of promoting a movie? I really don’t think so. But, I’m going to let Rose McGowan handle this one, because her response to The Hollywood Reporter is perfect.
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?”
I’ll close with a text my friend sent, a conversation with his daughter. It follows: ‘My daughter and I were just having a deep discussion on the brutality of that hideous X-Men poster yesterday. Her words: ‘Dad, why is that monster man committing violence against a woman?’ This from a 9-year-old. If she can see it, why can’t Fox?”
I join McGowan in waiting for Fox’s one and only proper response, an apology and immediate pulling of that awful poster.