Fox Apologizes for ‘Insensitive’ ‘X-Men’ Ad Showing Mystique Being Strangled

X-Men Apocalypse Jennifer Lawrence
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Fox has issued a formal apology for an ad for its “X-Men: Apocalypse” movie in which Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse character is strangling Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique.

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.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 69

Leave a Reply

69 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Davin says:

    HAHAHH THIS IS HILLARIOUS its a movie poster are you kidding me

  2. Troy C. Giersdorf says:

    FOX should NOT be apologizing to anybody about this.
    Some people want it both ways. There is nothing casual about a God complex villain strangling an adversary. DO NOT demand stronger more central roles for women in (action) films and then complain about the depiction of violence toward women, as though we were speaking outside the context of the film’s story line.
    Rose McGowan, who chose to join the T&A cast of Charmed, just wishes that she could have a central role in one of the Marvel franchises, where she could be seen on billboards getting strangled by the super-villain.

  3. Christian says:

    I’d be willing to bet both my testicles that if this were a guy, nobody would give a flying F**k. These women are just insecure and offended about a movie advertisement for a FICTIONAL movie. This isn’t even promoting violence towards women anyways. It’s promoting a Movie for one of my personal favorite Marvel Universes. It’s literally demonstrating how powerless one of the best female marvel characters is against Apocalypse. Quit assuming everything displaying a woman in a difficult situation is sexism, because you know that this kind whining only happens when its a woman in the picture.There are other instances of this kind of poster with men on it and nobody gives a crap about that, so why make a big deal out of this. This is literally like a cop arresting 4 black people and 4 white people for the same crime and somebody calling the cops racist for arresting the black people. Its stupid.

  4. Scott says:

    Wow. So we are going to assume we know what gender Apocalypse and Mystique identify as? This can be two women, two men, or something else. Wait and see what bathroom they use before you start assuming the gender, primitives.

  5. Indraneel Mallik says:

    Who is Rose Mcgowan trying to fool by asking for context. Even a kid can see that this is a superheroine fighting a villain. Obviously superheroes and superheroines win at the end. Hence to build suspence, the billboard shows the villain dominating the superheroine.
    It is Rose Mcgowan and people like her who need to do the soul searching. Negative thinking people like these always raise inappropriate concerns. Now if these syndicates remove these superheroines for avoiding controversies, these people will again complain as to why there aren’t enough superheroines.

  6. Kathy says:

    Its an ad for XMen movie, really, please stop being offended over every single little thing. Jesus.

  7. John says:

    This woman needs to get a life.. Its an advertisement for an XMEN movie. Gender is not important here. Of course left wing bleeding hearts take it the wrong way. They live in la la land.

  8. Debbie says:

    As a 65 year old former abused women, I think America needs to grow a pair and not be offended by EVERYTHING. And if this offends you Too Bad!

  9. ImYup says:

    Feminists can do anything men can do. She can fight men, but men are not allowed to fight back.

  10. Sonny Crockett says:

    Fox caved to PC nuttiness……..not surprised.

  11. this is so funny. people who are upset are just unstable group of people.

  12. Wayne says:

    It’s very odd to me how all these groups claim to want equality yet they also want special treatment. You can’t have it both ways. Honestly being a straight white man nowadays is probably the worst possible class to fall into. It’s kind of over sensitivity is making our country look weak and vulnerable.

    • ImYup says:

      Yes they are. Do a search for the ***Tube video ‘trashcan girl UCLA’ and your opinion will be corroborated.

  13. Zoi says:

    It’s a movie. Bad guys tend to do bad things. Take the stick out of your ass. Untwist your panties and enjoy the movie. If you can’t or simply don’t want to enjoy said movie because of the scene, then don’t watch it. And there was absolutely no reason for Fox to apologize. It’s a movie, people.

  14. Interesting…… The photo used in the article is not the version used in the billboard ad. In fact, the photo in this article is substantially more violent. Why that particular choice Variety? Cynical minds wish to know.

    • FOX did not apologize for the movie. FOX apologized for a graphic billboard in a high traffic area that depicts an image of a woman being strangled by a threatening man, without context. Parents will go see the movie but do not want their 3 year old daughter looking at this billboard out her bedroom window when she goes to bed. THAT is the reason it brought about wide-spread criticism. The BILLBOARD is inappropriate. What ticket buyers go see is their choice, and their consent.

  15. Tom Milo says:

    Well, maybe next time Mystique will have dinner ready on time.

  16. double u tee eff says:

    Wait so we dont condone violence against superheros, or just those of the vaginal persuasion?

  17. August111871 says:

    The creators of the movie should have Mystique turn into Chef Ramsey or Emeril..lol..so she could whip up some food for the men while they save the world! Would this make those crying about this happy? Doubt it! They ARE the same ones who cry about not having enough woman main super hero’s yet they don’t think they should fight? 20th Century I am disappointed that you DIDNT take a stand for woman all over the world. You could have put out a press release supporting a FEMALE comic book characters right to save the world just like her male counter parts, instead you cave in like a paper floor…so sad

  18. August111871 says:

    Seriously? Why do they let a super small group of FRAGILE & UNSTABLE people dictate to the rest of us? These same people are the ones crying that there is not enough female main super heroes. Yet when you have them in a movie, they think they shouldn’t get involved in the fight because if a male character hits them it’s promoting violence against woman…huh? What should we do then? Have the main female character making the male super heroes sandwiches while they save the world because she is to weak to help and can only contribute by making the men food?

  19. I grew up in a house where domestic violence was RAMPANT and I think this is ridiculous. It’s a make believe bad person engaged in battle against a make believe good person. This has NOTHING to do with domestic violence and these hand-wringing mental defectives need to WAKE UP and direct their misspent energies towards stopping ACTUAL violence against actual women. As opposed to getting all chafed because a make believe person who decided to get in a fight with another make believe person finds herself in violent circumstances.

  20. JD says:

    Recreational outrage.

  21. peterholthoffman says:

    Why do we make the knuckle-dragging assumption that the person with the vagina is the woman? It’s just as likely that what we have here is a penis-packing woman strangling a vagina-toting man.

    Seriously people, it’s 2016. Let’s not make unwarranted assumptions about the sex / gender of people. The next thing you know, you’ll start voting Republican!

  22. Cath says:

    Apocalypse similarly abuses all the “heroes” near the end of the movie. My guess is they chose the character and actor most people would recognize. Probably no particular “evil” intent on the part of those who chose the billboard. Just didn’t realize how sensitive viewers would be. So it would have been okay if they had used a similar frame from the movie with Apocalypse strangling Charles, for instance?

  23. kek says:

    Feminists: MY SOGGY KNEES!!! WE DEMAND MORE FEMALE PROTAGONISTS IN ACTION FILMS!!!

    Producers: Ok, here your go.

    Feminists: MY SOGGY KNEES!!! HOW DARE YOU SHOW WOMEN IN VIOLENT SITUATIONS!!!

  24. Objective Opinion says:

    Can I be really honest. This image would not encourage me to go and watch this movie. It just isn’t appealing. Whether you know who they characters are or not. Its kinda vulgar and wasn’t a very wise commercial choice. I’m have nothing to gain from this movie doing well or flopping I’m just mentioning it in a very truthful manner.

  25. Crowbane says:

    Gender issues aside, it’s a crappy still for a promotion. Period.

  26. Emma says:

    When I look at that billboard I see person strangling person. Enemy versus enemy. I don’t care about the genders of either. Didn’t enter my mind. People are looking for things to be offended by now. If it’s true equality then they are just two individual enemies fighting. No gender involved.

  27. Ben Champ says:

    How ridiculous, we are now getting to the stage where men can be seen being shot, stabbed, punched, kicked, run over, bitten, blown apart. However women seem to have a problem with them having anything done to them.

    I swear to god women are (thanks to feminism) becoming weaker and weaker every day. Women are not a minority and therefore should not be afforded any special rights. The strangulation scene is part of the film, if women have truly become so weak that they can’t see their gender being attacked at all now, then I sincerely think its time we just remove women from film all together.

    Whats next, the removal of scenes from movies where people disagree with women ? Its all getting utterly ridiculous.

    • Emma says:

      Thankfully not all women, I think this is ridiculous too. If we want equality then we need to accept that we are then treated equally. Which means women are subject to strangling and fight scenes in works of fiction too. By CHANGING these billboards and apologising they are making it inequal. Saying a woman can’t experience something because she is a woman. This is a step backwards not forwards.

  28. Jeff says:

    Ok Rose… Planet Terror, Charmed, Scream and Nip/Tuck…seriously!?!?! Are you just mad because you did not get a paycheck from this film? It’s sad to see someone like you that made money off of violence towards men, however a movie still insights your contempt. For someone who signs up for such violent roles….it sure is hypictical of you to take a stand now.
    #lossofrespect

  29. First off, Rose McGowan is a hypocrite. In “Nip/Tuck” she played a black widow who suffocates her victims, mostly men. So serial killer marrying me, sometimes fucking them, and then killing them is okay? Just checking. It’s advertisement was meant to convey death, if it was anyone else in the story, no one would have cared. Now granted, in these prequels, Mystique is a fragile woman who everyone needs to keep bringing back from the edge of stupid choices so I get that but here’s the thing…McGowan got this idea from a 9-year-old…a fucking 9-year-old who thought it looked brutal?! A fucking kid who, at their age, is startled by a spider and you want to use that as a point of reference? Super. More fucked up liberal, PC shit.

    • Phlegmbot says:

      There is no correlation between her complaint above and what you mention re: Nip/Tuck. Her comment is about marketing violence toward women. Your comment is not even tangentially related to that.

      That said, I first thought her complain was ridiculous. Then I remembered two things:
      1. I’m a man.
      2. All I see is a villain casually choking out one of the most powerful characters in the X-Men universe. But the reason I see that is that i KNOW the character of Mystique.

      For anyone who doesn’t know that character, she’s RIGHT. There’s NO context…and it just looks like a man attacking a woman.

      • kek says:

        “it just looks like a man attacking a woman”

        No. It looks like a mutant monster choking another mutant monster in what is clearly a superhero movie ad.

      • Ben Champ says:

        “1. I’m a man.”

        Given your post I seriously doubt that.

      • There is a correlation, you just won’t consider it. In advertisement for “Nip/Tuck” on television, they showed these scenes of her killing. Secondly, no matter what gender you are, making assumptions is childish. The suppose gender equality march means that a man or woman can get slaughtered by an evil creature and you would feel bad for both. Dude…it’s X-men. This isn’t some random franchise, this is a well-known series that has interpretations spanning decades. If they don’t know what this is, they are the most isolated people on the planet. LOL Get out of here with that crap!

  30. None2Serious says:

    Horrific! It is an affront to blue skinned ginger women everywhere.

  31. Bill says:

    So a C-list actress can complain about something and studio heads run to take down ads and apologize.

    It’s hilarious to watch Hollywood trip over themselves to be ever more PC.

    • Phlegmbot says:

      I actually thought she was being ridiculous at first, but I get it. She’s right. It’s showing violence toward women w/out ANY kind of tag line whatsoever.

      Just a tag line like “One of the Most Powerful Heroes In The X Universe Meets An Immovable Object.”

      Whatever. ANYthing would’ve done to give it some kind of context.

      I hate that I agree with her…but I do.

      • Maybe this is why women shouldn’t play superhero roles. If you want special treatment then don’t ask for equality. It is OK if a man is kicked, choked stabbed, burned, suffocated, shot by a woman or another man or even a superbad mutant in a billboard or a trailer. We all have seen plenty ads and videos that have done that over the years. That’s not violence against a man is it? If women want to scream “I am women, here me roar” allowing that that women can be just as tough as guys, then sometimes they get their butt kicked or strangled, stabbed. shot in a mutant battle. Are is it that they can only roar if they are always winning the fight. Would have it been OK if it was Cyclops being choked?

        Suggestion: Perhaps Hollywood should separate the mutant sexes into their own safe spaces were only the same sexes can argue (with non violent out bursts but using their inside voices) all without fear of being offended by the opposite sex. I just saw the movie and Raven kicks plenty of male butts where is the outrage of the violence against men there. In fact, one the evil female mutants, Olivia Munns character Pyslocke, is strangling and dragging the Beast to a possible demise Where is the outrage of violence there?

        People keep saying where it the context in the image. There is plenty of context. Xmen are getting their butt kicked. I’m sorry XPeople are getting their butt kicked. See the movie to find out why and what happens next. Context? Maybe the should put 300 worded statement on every billboard to tell all about the story. Context! That is like asking why is that shark going to attack that women in the Jaws poster. What it’s motivation? Does it have mommy issues?

      • Ben Champ says:

        Yeah because we never show violence against men do we…… idiot.

  32. Jack Monte says:

    Didn’t Rose have a poster with her missing a leg? I take that as the ultimate smear on women. To show one disfigured? Shameful. Fox has nothing to apologize for. They didn’t take it out of the movie. So if it was a man getting choked Rose would be fine with it and continue on her day of trying to get anyone interested in Red Sonja? Where she can kill scores of men for 2 hours.

    • Phlegmbot says:

      You’ve got that completely backwards. Her character in that movie was powerful and in charge, and the poster CLEARLY shows that, in spite of her obvious disfigurement.

  33. Jay says:

    This is too much. There’s no problem with the movie being violent against ALL of humanity. That’s the end game of the antagonist. So it’s okay to strangle a white guy? I mean someone is going to get hurt in the movie, right? He’s supposed to just put women to sleep? Redongculous. Just breathtakingly stupid.

    • Phlegmbot says:

      But you KNOW that b/c you KNOW the movie. You’ve actually made her point for her. There is NO context in that poster. Just a dude choking a chick.

      If the poster’s tagline (and it had NO tagline at all) was “His Violence Against Humanity Begins With The Most Powerful” that would be something else entirely, and I would say that McGowan is off her nut. But, as it stands, you’ve proven her point is a salient one.

      • Ben Champ says:

        You can’t be this naive surely. The picture is going to have the usual advertising around it for the film. Its not just going to be this image. People will know its from the movie. I haven’t watched the movie but I have the intelligence to know its from the movie.

        You would have to be borderline retarded not to see that. Which apparently you don’t.

  34. LOL says:

    I had a feeling the first time I saw the poster, that there were going to people whining over this. What is with this f$ck up idea of feminism today? “We want women to be powerful as men, but don’t you dare lay a hand on her because she a lady.”

    • Phlegmbot says:

      You’re a guy. I’m a guy. We don’t live in a world where, at any time, if someone tried to force themselves on us, we’ve up sheik’s creek without a camel. But women get cat-called just walking out of the market, or get lascivious looks b/c they have on tight jeans. And most guys are really scuzzy about all that.

      Add to that our rape culture, the one where 50(!) women can come out and say “Yeah, that dude raped me!” And there are STILL people on the Internet calling THEM the sluts and telling them THEY’RE at fault and tons of people defending the rapist (Cosby, in case I lost you somehow).

      So, to your point about “Women to be as powerful as men,” that’s not what she’s complaining about. As a fan of the movies, you and I know that Mystique might very well be as powerful, or more so, than MOST of the men she meets in those movies. But, to McGowan’s point, this poster has NO context. All it shows is Guy chokes Girl…Go See X-Men movie for more.

      That’s the only point she’s making. Everyone commenting seems to have missed it.

      • Ben Champ says:

        Dear god you are deluded. Please take your feminist rhetoric elsewhere, no one cares. This isn’t your little soapbox. You are not a guy, you are feminist pretending to be a guy, thats why you keep trying to assert your gender in these comments.

        Just leave and go back to tumblr because your posts are ridiculous.

        There is no such thing as rape culture.
        Men are raped and attacked (more than women if you include prison rape)
        Women do not get cat called very much if at all.
        No one cares about Cosby (why are you even bringing him up)

        No no-one has missed anything, you are a delusional femtard who appears to have drunk the Koolaid and now like any delusional ideologue you think its your job to convert the world to your screwed up way of thinking.

        Get some professional help you nut job.

  35. Marie says:

    That poster has been around for WEEKS. Now it’s a problem?
    And if that was Cyclops being choked, no one would have said a word.
    Double standards galore.

    • Phlegmbot says:

      Well, “Marie,” considering the rape culture we live in, there’s a difference between male on male violence and male on female violence. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably found yourself in a situation where males are outnumbering you in a way that might not feel so safe (e.g., a party), and you probably know that simply b/c of your presence at said party — with or without drinking — a lot of men, and even a lot of courts today, would say that that means you’re giving consent to anything that happens next.

      And if you don’t see how that correlates to McGowan’s complaint, either read it again, or pay closer attention to the world you’re in.

      Signed,
      a Guy

  36. Girl power? says:

    Ok girls, time to gather en masse to proclaim that a woman superhero is as equally powerful as a male superhero and thus, this ad should not be considered offensive. Ready… set …go!

    Anyone? Anyone?

  37. Lisa says:

    I was taken aback by the ad. At least have someone her own size doing this so she can fight back reasonably. But he’s 5 times her size – not appropriate for children.

    • fed up with bullshit says:

      he’s 5 times everyones size so not a good point. the point is everyone jumps roght to gender seeing a man choking a female when its about an overwhelming villain overpowering a heroine. it isnt about gender they didnt wake up saying “Hey lets offend millions of people by showing a powerful man choking a woman” hell even if you dont know the series well or at all if you look at the board you should see a villain choking a heroine. but we live in a butthurt pc wprld where everyone jumps to either gende or race. btw if it was wolverine hed still be getting choked. apocalypse is almost godlike. but hell a guy getting choked isnt offensive at all.

    • Marie says:

      I have seen ads for horror films worse than that. Everyone wants to complain about something.

      • Phlegmbot says:

        Well, I agree w/you there, Marie. But Lisa has missed the point. Frankly, I’m not even sure how her comment is relevant. His size isn’t the issue. The fact that he’s choking her out so casually, and that we the audience seeing this ad have NO context for this, that’s the problem.

        Again, it just goes toward our violence-towards-women culture. I watch Family Guy from time to time, I enjoy the show when its sardonic and witty. What I don’t enjoy is the amount of misogyny in it. And I’m not even talking about the running gags about the character Meg. Those are fine — that’s what her character is there for. But, when they do when of their quick-cuts to a joke due to some setup by Peter or Stewie, about 3/4 of the time it seems like the punchline of the joke has to do w/a woman being bitchy or being punched.

        And making that OK, and mainstream, that’s the kind of thing ads like this contribute to. You may not want to think it does, but it does. At least, in the world of Family Guy, there’s context and they’re striving for satire, but most of the morons watching tv don’t get that. And, again, this ad had zero context.

  38. Jacques Strappe says:

    I’m sure fans of movie billboards would rather see Mystique kicking Apocalypse in his balls. Isn’t that the new feminism? Maybe that would please Rose McGowan as well. Fercrissakes, these are comic book superheroes and villains that do unspeakably violent things to each other on the comic book pages in their fantasy universe.

    • Phlegmbot says:

      You’ve made McGowan’s point. She’s very clear in the fact that there is NO context. And the fact that YOU know that it’s a superhero and a supervillain and that that’s what the point is, means you HAVE context and familiarity w/the materials.

      I at first disagreed with her, and I was writing my first reply on this page about to say such, and as I wrote, I realized, “Holy crap, she’s right!”

      All Fox needed to do was add a tagline speaking to your point “An X-Man Who Can’t Choose Sides, Has Met One Who’ll Choose It For Her.” Now, if the poster said that and she complained, I’d be like “Eff you, Rose, the poster makes it clear, it’s not about men or woman, it’s about a hero meeting a villain that could take her down.”

      But that’s not that deal here.

    • Lisa says:

      I’m not trying to break your balls or anything, but,judging by his size, me thinks Apocalypse would have some pretty big balls. Maybe give her someone with smaller balls. Isn’t that what it’s all about – who has the biggest balls?

  39. Bryan Burke says:

    This is an image of comic book characters beating on each other, nothing more. And the female character is one that has handily dominated male characters throughout that comic book universe. Apologize? So stupid. Will somebody please give Rose McGowan something to do? Too much time on her hands.

  40. nobody important says:

    Don’t complain about this, complain about how there are absolutely no good female roles in the whole series.

    • Ggg says:

      We will love you to do something about it instead of complaining on some website.

      • nobody important says:

        Because I totally have creative control inside of the bloody X-Men franchise.

    • Ben says:

      No good female roles? how about mystique, jean grey, storm, rogue, psylocke for starters? Got to love the Internet, everyone has to complain about something. Rose McGowan is just pissed off cause no one will hire her crazy ass.

      • Yeah Ben let’s be real, all the women in the X-Men films are shit. Maybe Berry’s Storm had some brains to her, but most of these females are either mentally fragile or super confused. And when you consider Lawrence was essentially Katniss Everdeen in these films (Who we kidding, she’s Katniss in everything some way or another), it comes down to people don’t know what genuine strength is. I mean did you see Wolverine breaking down every five minutes? No! He had a look of shock and moved on. For some reason, most female roles in these action films are mentally unsound and still end up needing a guy to snap some sense into them. Rose McGowan, when she was on Charmed, was a serial dater who literally spent her entire time on the show trying to find her purpose in life. LOL

      • nobody important says:

        All of whom have crappy writing, have no real plot relevance, are under-developed as characters, and mainly are for eye candy from horny teenagers. And even if they have plot relevance, it’s poorly done.

More Film News from Variety

Loading