Earlier this week, the world became aware of an Italian promotional poster for the film “12 Years A Slave” that highlighted actor Brad Pitt, even though he has only a minor role in the film. Meanwhile, the movie’s star, black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, was reduced to a small image below Pitt’s profile.
Now, the film’s international distributor, Summit Entertainment, has announced it will pull the posters, which went viral after a Tumblr user uploaded this photo of one on Sunday:
The posters came as no surprise to those familiar with the movie industry, since films about African-Americans often perform poorly overseas, but upset some people on the internet for minimising a black actor’s role in a movie about his character’s experience as a slave.
Another prominently featured supporting actor Michael Fassbender, also white.
In a statement, Summit said it did not approve the posters before they were placed in theatres by the film’s Italian distributor, BIM Distribuzione.
Here’s the full statement, via The Hollywood Reporter:
The “12 Years A Slave” theatrical posters featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender that were recently released in Italy were unauthorised and were not approved by any of the producers or licensors of the film. Summit Entertainment, acting as exclusive sales agent for the licensors, is investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorised posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled.
BIM Distribuzione, the company charged with promoting the film in Italy, responded on Thursday. Here’s its statement, via Variety:
We apologise for creating and releasing unauthorised posters for “12 Years A Slave” in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a matter inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused.
The main American theatrical poster focuses solely on Ejiofor:
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