The makers of hit Hollywood movie Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn and Kristin Davis, are being sued by a black actor over a race controversy which began more than a decade ago, according to court papers obtained by DailyMail.com.
Faizon Love is suing Universal Studios and its partners over claims he and co-star Kali Hawk, who is also black, were airbrushed out of the international promotional poster for the 2009 film.
Love and Hawk, the only minority couple in the movie, according to the suit, had originally appeared on the poster which promoted the movie across the US.
The US advert showed all eight principal actors – six of whom are white and two black.
But, the suit claims, the poster promoting the film to international audiences scrubs actors Love and Hawk leaving only their white costars.
‘When it came to publicizing the film to international audiences, Universal Studios chose to segregate the motion picture’s White and Black actors,’ the suit, filed in LA Superior Court Wednesday claims.
The paperwork claims Love – probably best known for his role in hit 2003 Christmas movie Elf alongside Will Ferrell – was ‘aghast’ to discover the omission and how Universal Studios and its partners had ‘excised’ him and the movie’s only other black actor.
It states: ‘This act of racism deeply aggrieved Mr. Love. After decades spent honing his craft and compiling more than 50 acting credits, Mr. Love reasonably believed Couples Retreat was his opportunity to present to national and international audiences his talents as a prominent Black comedic actor.’
Couples Retreat topped the box office on its opening weekend in October, 2009 and went on to gross more than $171 million worldwide.
But, according to the suit: ‘Mr. Love and his Black costar, Kali Hawk, were expunged completely from the film’s principal international advertisement, while the other “couples” basked in the publicity and acclaim of an international box office hit.’
The media too noticed the two actors had been wiped from the international poster and a public racism scandal ensued at the time.
The suit quotes a Daily Mail article reporting on the drama in the UK, which quoted Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch-UK, as saying: ‘I think this was an ill-conceived move. We celebrate diversity in Britain and we could have coped with seeing the same poster used in America.’
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ryan Parry