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Sande Alessi Casting was slammed with messages calling a recent casting call for extras in the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton racist. The agency later apologized and Universal, the studio making the film, distanced itself from the post.
This month, the agency posted the casting call on its Facebook page, noting that the film was looking for featured extras. According to The Guardian, the post listed four groups of women, listed A, B, C and D. The descriptions for these groups caused a firestorm and many assumed that the way they were listed was a ranking.
The casting call read:
A) "Hottest of the hottest. Models" (open to women of any race)
B) "Fine ... Beyonce is a [prototype] here" (light-skinned women)
C) African American girls ... Medium to light skinned with a weave
D) "These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone."
Many found the “D” group particularly offensive, as it insinuated that only out-of-shape people are poor.
In a statement to TMZ, Sande Alessi called the post an “innocent mistake.” The agency said that it is looking for “poor” people of all races and body types and explained that the A, B, C and D listing wasn’t meant as a ranking. Instead, this is how they usually group different extras in their casting calls.
As for Universal, the studio said the filmmakers “did not approve and do not condone the information in this casting notice. We regret and sincerely apologize for being in any way associated with the offensive descriptions it contained.”
Straight Outta Compton will hit theaters in August 2015. F. Gary Gray is directing.
image of Ice Cube courtesy of Roger Wong/INFphoto.com