After outrage from the teeming masses of the internet, 20th Century Fox has issued an apology over a series of X-Men: Apocalypse ads that featured so-called violence against women.
The billboard ads, which showed up in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, featured the titular villain, Apocalypse — played by Oscar Isaac — choking Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Mystique. The outrage began after actress Rose McGowan posted a lengthy comment to the Hollywood Reporter’s Facebook page, reported on the THR website, calling the ads “offensive and frankly, stupid.”
“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.”
The irony that McGowan has played numerous roles in which violent acts were committed against her by men — most notably her five seasons as Paige Matthews on the television series Charmed, or as Pam, victim to Stuntman Mike in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof — seems to have been lost on her. In her post, McGowan goes on to demand an apology from Fox for their X-Men ads, saying they need to “right this wrong,” and replace the offending X-Men ads with new ones.
Giving in to the growing pressure from the denizens of the internet, CNN reports that 20th Century Fox issued an apology for their X-Men ads this past weekend, pointing out that their main reason for these particular ads was to showcase the villain’s, well, villainy.
“In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse 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.”
During McGowan’s tirade, she also mentions that the ensuing outcry, were the movie poster to feature a white man strangling a black man, or a straight man strangling a gay man, would be enormous. If that’s the case, however, then why not do away with violence in movie posters altogether? If any of McGowan’s scenarios were reversed, would there be outrage? One has to wonder what kind of response would have been elicited had the X-Men ads shown Mystique strangling Apocalypse.
For that matter, what of the Ant-Man ads featuring Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne preparing to flick Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man from her shoulder? Could those ads not be considered promoting casual violence against men? There was no outcry for those ads, nor any of the other countless movies featuring women being violent towards men.
What McGowan is essentially saying is that violence against those she considers weaker, or minorities, is wrong, while violence against white males, no matter who is perpetrating said violence, is fine. The fact that all of this outrage came about over ads for X-Men: Apocalypse — a sci-fi/action film — is a slap in the face to those who have fought for equality between the sexes for years. If one is going to become enraged over ads for an action film depicting the villain of said film being violent towards the hero — or anti-hero, in Mystique’s case — the gender of those who play the roles should not matter.
20th Century Fox should never have had to issue an apology over their ads for the latest X-Men film, and if those demanding the apology were really as outraged as they claimed to be over the internet, then they should be outraged at all violence depicted in films and film ads, not just those they deem worthy of their obviously biased ire.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]