2oth Century Fox is apologizing in the wake of wide criticism over an outdoor ad for X-Men: Apocalypse that depicted a violent act against a woman. The ad, which appeared in Los Angeles and other big cities like New York, showed the movie’s villain Apocalypse grabbing Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) by the throat. It was a bit shocking to see — so much so that actress Rose McGowan took to social media to ask others to also raise their voices against this kind of violent imagery against women being shown publicly.
In a statement, Fox said: “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.“
The ad was taken down after the uproar, but the image of a woman being choked was said to have been approved by a top female executive at Fox before it went out. (So much for sensitivity to women’s issues.)
McGowan also garnered criticism for speaking up but wrote recently on her Facebook page: “Someone has to, may as well be me. My favorite thing is when someone says I’m not qualified to speak on such things. If I’m not, who is? I toiled in the bowels of Hollywood since age 15. If I’m not qualified, who is? F*ck em, f*ck em hard.”
The flap is reminiscent of the 2014 outdoor campaign for FX’s The Strain, which used an equally controversial image (albeit offensive for another reason): a graphic of a worm crawling out of a human eye. That also was pulled in some locations — but because it was grossing people out. Showrunner Carlton Cruse said at the time he saw nothing wrong with putting that kind of imagery into the public, saying, “I think that the ad was bold and imaginative and clearly not for everyone.” Which then begged the question of why push the image out publicly for everyone to see?