Since it's getting such mixed reviews, the marketing team for X-Men: Apocalypse has kicked into high gear with a new barrage of billboards. One of them, however, is being blasted online for its apparent depiction of violence against women.
The billboard (seen above near a Cheesecake Factory sign) portrays Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) choking out Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). The ad features the tagline "Only the strong will survive."
Since it surfaced throughout North America, a number of people have spoken up about the billboard's striking imagery. On her Facebook page, actress Rose McGowan wrote, "Fuck this shit."
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to McGowan to expand on her thoughts on the billboard, and she added that its lack of context made it a particularly dangerous image.
"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," she said. "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. 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?"
She added that her friend's young daughter was also offended by the ad. "I'll close with a text my friend sent, a conversation with his daughter," she said. "It follows: 'My daughter and I were just having a deep discussion on the brutality of that hideous X-Men poster yesterday. Her words: 'Dad, why is that monster man committing violence against a woman?' This from a 9-year-old. If she can see it, why can't Fox?"
UPDATE (06/03, 4 p.m.): Fox has apologized for the ad. You can read their statement below.
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. 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.