USA Today Draws Fire, Backs Off ‘Race-Themed’ Headline on Box-Office Story

USA Today Draws Fire, Backs Off 'Race-Themed' Headline on Box-Office Story

The headline, noting the strong performance of “Best Man Holiday,” is changed to “racially diverse” after flood of complaints on Twitter

USA Today set off a social media storm Sunday with a headline on its box-office story that many found racially insensitive.

“‘Holiday’ Nearly Beat ‘Thor’ as Race-Themed Films Soar” was the original headline that the publication put up online and sent out on Twitter. Universal's romantic comedy sequel from writer-director Malcolm D. Lee did surprisingly well with $30.5 million this weekend, as it debuted against the Marvel superhero sequel, which took in $38.4 million.

When that headline drew a blast of complaints, it was soon changed,  to “‘Holiday’ Nearly Beats ‘Thor’ as Ethnically Diverse Films Soar.” The original tweet was deleted, too.

Also read: Will This Year Cure Hollywood's ‘Selective Amnesia’ With Black Filmmakers?

Most of the complaints struck a similar chord.

“USA Today calls movies with black people in them race-themed” Cos black people are a genre. Like superhero movies” tweeted Sindi Nikosi.

“So according to USA Today any any movie showing Black people acting like humans is considered a race-themed movie,” said T. Brown via Twitter.

“Why are movies that star people of color “race-themed” but movies starring whites are not USA Today?” tweeted April. “Is friendship a race theme?”

Also read: ‘Best Man Holiday’ Director Malcolm Lee on Sequels, Casting the White Guy and ‘SNL’ Diversity

The story also made mention of the box-office success of “Fruitvale Station” and “The Butler,” two films that also had predominantly African American casts.

Even after the headline was switched, it was still catching heat.

“Changing it from race-themed’ to ‘diverse’ doesn't make it any less stupid,” tweeted Michelle Tran.

A call to USA Today seeking comment wasn't immediately returned, but the messages seemed to be hitting home. The headline was changed a second time.

Ultimately, it read: “‘Best Man Holiday’ Nearly Beats Mighty ‘Thor.'”

  • Madlymad

    When will this country grow up?

  • nimportequoi

    Not surprising…racism not only persists in the “journalism” but continues in Hollywood itself. it's deplorable and quite nauseating.

  • Da Black Goku

    Per FOX News we're in a post-racial America.

    I think this is the only time they've ever lied to me. [/sarcasm]

  • nikahoo

    it was a lame headline. usa shoulda said — we are really surprised a black movie gave a white movie a run for it's money. cause that's all we see in this situation. we don't actually watch black movies — we just notice they are black. but apparently some of you do — and we want to write an article about it. we are usa today.

  • Cpt_Justice

    Some please reassure me that it really is two steps forward, one step back, & not the other way around…

  • Mona

    Why is Race not an issue with an all white cast? Why does Hollywood or even the media feel the need to highlight race when the movie is not all white? Who's racist?

    • 46RayCharles2

      Oh…But it is…. That's why it's all white!

  • renee

    But we are always using the race card right?!!! smh

  • Whylie2010

    Shame on the writer and the editor who approved the headline.

  • Leonardo DaVinci Barnette

    I don't understand the seeming “surprise” USA Today's headline conveyed?!
    The Butler was number one for a couple of weeks. Completely ignorant call on all involved to run with that original and the second headline. Quite sad actually.

    • Lynn Wins Hearts

      This one was not about slaves.

  • mmdccbslm

    racist morons! they are just trying to warn white people that there are black people, apparently too many, in the movie…and some are actually LEAD CHARACTERS.
    When will the stupid stop?

    • Feleria

      They're so busy trying to make black people look bad, that they're showing their own ignorance & stupidity which is always the case !!!!

  • Terry DeCarlo

    ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION USA Today just announced that the guy/gal who penned that article title and the “approver” were bl African American so there was absolutely nothing wrong with it so take back everything you said. Overreact why don’t you USA peeps. Duh!

    • Sharon S.

      Scott Bowles is not African American. I'm not sure about the editor. But even if they were, people are still allowed to be offended.

    • Feleria

      And you know this HOW???

  • AlexFirth91

    Wow, never reading their stuff again.

  • talicious03

    It couldn't just be a romantic comedy?

  • Michele Last

    I don't know why race should have even been noted in the headline. When I saw the previews for the movie I didn't think, “that looks like a good movie with black actors.” What I did think was, “that movie looks funny and some of my favorite actors in it!” I honestly cannot wrap my mind around why we are so tied up as a country in the color of someone's skin…we have a black president, he's a Hispanic comedian, Asian director Ang Lee…WHO CARES?!?! Why can't it just be the president, comedian and director…I just don't get it. And if the media decides it's important to keep denoting people of different “color” or ethnicity, what does that tell our society?? I'm going to see Best Man Holiday because it looks hilarious and because it has some phenomenal actors in it…PERIOD. I mean please, people, it's time we start seeing everyone for who they are…PEOPLE, not black people, white people, Asian people or Hispanic people…we're all just PEOPLE!!

  • Cynthia

    when are we as people who are created in the image and likeness of Our God going to called each other brothers and sisters? and not black or white? when we all get to Heaven there will not be any Black or White people. Just God's children.

  • JazzyJerome

    Of course not, the movie is no different than a Woody Allen flick except the color of the cast.