'12 Years a Slave’ PosterGate Ends With Italian Distributor Apologizing for Distraction

'12 Years a Slave' PosterGate Ends With Italian Distributor Apologizing for Distraction

Unauthorized posters diminishing Chiwetel Ejiofor's lead role have been recalled since they caused an uproar on social media

PosterGate may finally be over now that BIM Distribuzine, the Italian distributor of “12 Years a Slave,” has apologized for unauthorized posters that have caused an unnecessary distraction on the film's awards campaign trail.

The posters, which have already been recalled, highlighted well-known caucasian actors such as Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender over the film's true star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose performance is expected to receive an Oscar nomination. The posters appear to diminish the African-American actor's powerful lead role.

In a statement released Thursday, BIM Distribuzine said: “We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for '12 Years A Slave’ in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused.”

Also Read: '12 Years a Slave’ Posters Featuring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender Will Be Taken Down

While Fox Searchlight served as the domestic distributor of “12 Years a Slave,” it was Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment served as the international sales agent and handled Italian distribution rights, which were acquired by BIM Distribuzine.

Lionsgate vowed swift action would be taken when the unauthorized posters began causing an uproar on social media, though it's not uncommon for A-list stars to have their roles blown out of proportion for a film's international marketing campaign. While Fassbender has a major role in “12 Years a Slave,” Pitt's is considerably smaller, though he also produced the movie — which may never have been made without his participation, both behind and in front of the camera.

Also read: As Critics’ Awards Keep Coming, It's Turning Into a '12 Years a Slave’ Runaway

PosterGate may have represented a slight setback en route to the Oscars for “12 Years a Slave,” but the film is just as resilient as its protagonist, so don't expect this to affect its chances this awards season. Steve McQueen's harrowing drama has received 16 nominations between SAG Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes.

Fox Searchlight will re-release “12 Years a Slave” in select theaters beginning Jan. 17.

  • Gopal Natarajan

    “The posters appear to diminish the African-American actor’s powerful lead role.”

    Chiwetel Ejiofor is not African-American. He's British.

    • A.L. Hern

      A very salient point.

    • Stephan

      African British

  • A.L. Hern

    “In a statement released Thursday, BIM Distribuzine said: “We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for ’12 Years A Slave’ in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials.”

    That's BIM DISTRIBUZIONE, not “Distribuzine,” which means exactly nothing in Italian. Don't you people proofread ANYTHING at The Wrap?

  • Enzo

    They did this because in Italy Brad Pitts name sells movies better than an unknown, it not racism just smart business. Everyone is so sensitive these days.

    • relentlesslycaring

      While this may be true, having his picture up will also bring in the black audiences too.

      • Enzo

        The audience is in Italy, this is an Italian distributor, we have very few blacks people here. The distributors know this, they just did not expect the backlash from the actor and news media picking it up.

        • relentlesslycaring

          That may be true, yet he is not an unknown actor– especially in Europe.

          • Enzo

            Who Brad Pitt or the other guy? I am from Italy never seen or heard of the other guy at all.

  • relentlesslycaring

    He's an African-English actor.

  • Stephan

    LMAOooooooooooooooooooooo like they care? They apologised to not lose money, not because they were sorry.

  • disqus_fM4XuKPdTq

    Can we stop with the movies about slavery….enough is enough….we get it. It is like the only way Black actors can get noticed anymore is by playing a slave and it is old and demeaning.