The X-Men: Apocalypse billboard has sparked quite the controversy amongst fans and celebrities which prompted 20th Century Fox to issue an apology. The billboard shows Apocalypse, played by Oscar Issac choking Mystique, who is played by Jennifer Lawrence.
Rose McGowan was one of the celebrities who have spoken out against the marketing material Fox used for the movie. She had issued a statement via Facebook to the Hollywood Reporter which stated the following:
“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?”
McGowan wasn’t the only one with words for Fox and their choice to use the striking image. Jennifer McCleary-Sills who works at the International Center for Research on Women as director of gender violence and rights spoke out too. She said:
“Here’s the thing: Where do we draw the line? They morph into humans and most of their interactions are similar to what humans would have while as mutants. … The fantasy life can involve violence against women, and that shows how normalized it is. The argument that it shouldn’t be offensive because they are mutants doesn’t hold any water, … and what really is the challenge here is the intentionality of it. You could have chosen any from the thousands of images, but you chose this one. Whose attention did you want to get and to what end?”
Fox in turn has apologized for the marketing material, saying:
“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.”
It’s clear that the image has created more than a few waves. Fox has since removed the material with the image and has realized that although the image does portray villainy on the part of Apocalypse, as a stand alone image without a trailer or film behind it doesn’t work as they had intended.