“Exodus: Gods and Kings” won the weekend box-office crown with a $24.5 million debut, but the Biblical epic was crucified on social media in the process.
For months, director Ridley Scott has faced criticism for casting all-white actors as Egyptians in the lead roles. The film stars Christian Bale (Moses), Australian actor Joel Edgerton (Ramses), Sigourney Weaver (Tuya) and Aaron Paul (Joshua), while non-white actors play slaves and servants.
Despite the backlash, Scott has staunchly defended the drama. When asked to expand on his self-described “careful” casting of the 20th Century Fox film earlier this year, he told Yahoo he knew Bale “was the right actor for the role” of Moses.
Last month, Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch also waded into the debate, questioning what all the fuss was about.
“Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are,” Murdoch tweeted on Nov. 29.
He immediately came under assault, and fired off more tweets on the subject.
“Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves,” Murdoch tweeted before finally admitting, “Okay, there are many shades of color. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!”
But it seems his call to “calm down” fell on deaf ears. As the film arrived in theaters this weekend, critics took to social media in droves. The Twitter hashtag #BoycottExodusMovie continued to gain steam and it was almost unanimously fueled by hate-filled posts.
Below are some of the most memorable reactions.
Not only did Ridley Scott whitewash #ExodusMovie, but it looks like it's terrible in its own right, too.
— Kate Ellison (@queenofstout) December 14, 2014
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) December 14, 2014
#BoycottExodusMovie Maybe next time it won't be so "inconvenient" to cast some people who aren't white as "gods and kings" hm?
— TheQueerBlkFeminist (@queerblackfem) December 14, 2014
— Me. I Am Joshua. (@JoshuaJamal) December 14, 2014
What's next Malcolm X will be played by Bradley Cooper & Martin Luther King by Leonardo DiCaprio #BoycottExodusMovie
— Tim Wilson (@iAMTimWilson) December 13, 2014
Definitely not spending my money on this. #BoycottExodusMovie
— Maire (@Maire_Rogers) December 14, 2014
Exodus just said to hell with The Bible lol
— Cosmopolitan Muslim (@AmirMW) December 14, 2014
— Elon James White (@elonjames) December 12, 2014
— JaNala Mamdu (@JaNalaMamdu) December 13, 2014
I never thought biblical figures to have British accents…. Or use bronzer. #ExodusMovie
— Tiffany Navarro (@tiff_nav) December 14, 2014
— Ali LeRoi (@mrleroi) December 11, 2014