The studio said Friday that it began taking down the billboards with the image several weeks before the May 27 release.
“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,” Fox said in a statement issued Friday. “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.”
Actress Rose Mcgowan has slammed the studio for the image, saying, “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,” she added. “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?”
“X-Men: Apocalypse,” Fox’s ninth film in the franchise, is directed by Bryan Singer and also stars Rose Byrne, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and James McAvoy. Worldwide grosses have topped $280 million.