20th Century Fox apologises for “insensitive” X-Men poster showing Jennifer Lawrence being choked

The controversial billboard has been criticised for depicting a violent act against a woman with no context to explain it

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Hollywood film studio 20th Century Fox has issued an apology following the outcry over a billboard for its new superhero movie X-Men: Apocalypse.

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The giant outdoor poster shows Jennifer Lawrence’s character Mystique being choked by the film’s eponymous villain Apocalypse, along with the strapline “Only the strong will survive”. It has been widely criticised for its depiction of a shocking act of violence against women and the lack of any context to explain it.

In a statement, Fox apologised for the “upsetting” and “insensitive” image, saying it did not condone violence against women.

“In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse, we didn’t immediately recognise the upsetting connotation of this image in print form,” said the statement. “Once we realised how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologise for our actions and would never condone violence against women.”

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Among those leading the criticism of the billboard was US actress Rose McGowan, who said “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. There is no context in the ad, just a woman getting strangled. The fact that no-one flagged this is offensive and, frankly, stupid.”