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Italian film distributor BIM Distribuzione, which is handling the acclaimed drama 12 Years A Slave in Italy, has apologized for a set of controversial posters that gave prominence to the film’s white actors over its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor. The posters lit ups social media, as they appeared to give Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt more importance than Ejiofor, who plays the main character.
Earlier this week, Lionsgate’s Summit, which handles international sales for the Steve McQueen-directed film, said that these posters were unauthorized. “Summit Entertainment, acting as exclusive sales agent for the licensors, is investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled,” the company said.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, BIM later issued its own statement, apologizing for the posters. "All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn,” the distributor said. “We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused.”
Each poster put Pitt and Fassbender in the forefront, minimizing the film’s main image - Ejiofor running - into the bottom corner. Pitt, who appears in the movie even less than Fassbender, appears to be given reverential status and many suggested that the posters were racist.
Fox Searchlight, the film’s U.S. distributor, used the image of Ejiofor running for its main poster. Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free black man conned into slavery.