Fox apologizes for X-Men billboard showing strangling of Jennifer Lawrence's character

Film studio 20th Century Fox has apologized for a billboard that features Jennifer Lawrence's X-Men: Apocalypse character, Mystique, being strangled.

Many complained about the image, including a Toronto non-profit and actress Rose McGowan

In this photo, Mystique, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, appears in a scene from X-Men: Apocalypse. Her character was seen strangled on a billboard posted in some major cities. (20th Century Fox/The Associated Press)

Film studio 20th Century Fox has apologized for a billboard that features Jennifer Lawrence's X-Men: Apocalypse character Mystique being strangled.

The billboard, which had been on display in major cities such as Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York, has been criticized by some offended by the startling imagery of Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse choking Mystique.

Among them is the head of a non-profit organization in Toronto trying to end violence against women.

Nneka MacGregor, executive director of Women at the Centre, said six billboards in different locations around Toronto were pointed out to her, prompting her to send an email to the film company.

"We were really worried about the use of that image," she told CBC News. "It's not the type of stuff you should be advertising."

Fox has apologized for this advertisement for the film X-Men: Apocalypse, which depicted the character of Mystique being strangled. This one was spotted in Toronto. (Linda Kalafatides/Women at the Centre)

Fox appeared to take action soon after actress and filmmaker Rose McGowan spoke out, saying there's "a major problem when the men and women at 20th Century Fox think casual violence against women is a way to market a film."

In a statement, Fox said that in highlighting the villainy of Apocalypse, "we didn't immediately realize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form."

The billboards also sparked complaints from people online, many of whom were parents saying the image was disturbing to their children. A lot of the advertising was in high-traffic areas, including near highways, parks and close to residential areas.

At the same time, many fans are calling the backlash an overreaction, something MacGregor finds particularly troubling.

"You never really stop to examine what the image is saying," she said. "For anybody to think this is acceptable, says to me that we've come to a point in time in our culture where it's acceptable to grab women by the throat and strangle them and throttle them. We continue to buy our lattés, jog around the park and wheel our children around."

The studio apologized and says it's removing promotional materials with the image. Some billboards have already been pulled down but at least one was still standing in Toronto on Saturday.

Fox added that it "would never condone violence against women."

With files from Associated Press


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?