The Sapphires US DVD Cover Labelled As 'Vile' And Racist For Fading Out Aboriginal Actors

The Sapphires US DVD Cover Labelled As 'Vile' And Racist For Fading Out Aboriginal Actors

02 August 2013

The US DVD cover of Australian film The Sapphires has been slated as racist, for placing fading the film’s Aboriginal stars into the background.

The fun-loving film features four Indigenous actresses in lead roles, however on this particular cover co-star (and Caucasian) actor Chris O'Dowd has been placed at the four front, with the ladies in the background.

Chris O’Dowd himself has described the cover as "vile,'' and doesn’t agree with the decision by an American distributor to feature his image predominating over a blue-wash faded picture of his Aboriginal female co-stars.

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The Irish actor spoke out on Twitter to assure followers that he agreed with the negativity surrounding the controversial Anchor Bay's DVD cover, saying: "That's pretty vile. Certainly not my choice."

And later adding "it’s ridiculous, it’s misleading, it’s ill-judged, insensitive and everything the film wasn’t."

Both tweets have since been deleted.

He’s not the only one to disagree with the format of the DVD cover though, journalist Mia Freedman has also spoken out on the topic, slamming the cover on her blog saying "The negative implications of making a film about black women look like it’s about a white man should outweigh any marketing concerns. This film is not only about women, it’s about Indigenous women. That fact deserves to be celebrated… Hiding those women and the colour of their skin under a veil of blue in a ridiculously photoshopped background – behind a man – is absurd."

Just for the record, as Mia Freedman adds, "The actresses’ names are Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Sharri Sebens and Miranda Tapsell. They are women. They are indigenous. And they are the stars of this movie." We totally agree.

So what do you think? Has Chris O’Dowd been placed at the front here because he’s better known in the US? Or is there (perhaps unconscious) race and gender prejudices at play?

A petition has been created to compel Anchor Bay to change the cover to reflect the Indigenous women the film is about. We hope they listen.

Watch our interview with two of the stars from The Sapphires, Jess Mauboy and Miranda Tapsell!


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