Yesterday, the Tumblr blog “Carefree Black Girl” surfaced what the blog’s author claims is the Italian poster for the critically acclaimed movie “12 Years a Slave.”
The poster, which has since spread across the internet, prominently displays Brad Pitt’s face breaking through a set of sunlit clouds as a small image of the actor Chiwetel Ejiofor runs across the bottom of the poster underneath.
Many on the internet are calling the poster racist for downplaying the role of Ejiofor, who plays protagonist Solomon Northup, and instead focusing on Pitt, who plays a day laborer who doesn’t show up until midway through the film.
Pitt, who served as one of the movie’s producers, is widely beloved by international audiences, and is seen as crucial to promoting “12 Years a Slave” to overseas audiences that are often uninterested in films that center on African Americans.
Carefree Black Girl said she lives in Italy and came across the poster on a trip to the movies.
“I’ve been following the press for months and I can’t wait to watch it but REALLY? I don’t remember Brad Pitt being the protagonist of the film or having such a pivotal role in the story to stay in the middle of the poster,” she wrote. “I sure don’t know anything about marketing strategy to appeal audiences but isn’t this going to far?”
In searching for confirmation that the image is a real marketing poster and not a Photoshop creation, Business Insider was unable to find another image of it.
We have reached out to Lions Gate, parent company of the movie’s international distributor Summit Entertainment, but when we searched Italian movie sites, like this one, we saw only the American poster for the movie, which stars Ejiofor and does not include an image of Pitt.
Regardless of the Italian poster’s veracity, people are using it on Twitter as an example of Italy’s well-documented race issues and the way the media tries to avoid marketing stories about black people to white audiences.
Here’s what some are saying:
The film is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, a New York-born free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.
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