Faizon Love has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Universal Pictures over a movie poster used to promote the 2009 film Couples Retreat.
When the poster was released overseas, Love and co-star Kali Hawk — the only non-white couple in the film — were removed from the international artwork. The movie’s white actors, including Vince Vaughn, Malin Ackerman, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Jon Favreau, and Kristin Davis, were all featured on the artwork.
In a video interview with TMZ, the actor gave his thoughts on why he filed the lawsuit.
“I’m going to be honest with you, it’s white arrogance in Hollywood,” Love told the outlet after he was asked why he thinks Universal removed him from the poster.
He went on to say the studio told him people might not be familiar with him overseas.
“How do you explain taking off the only two Black people that’s in your movie off the poster?” Love continued.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the international poster caused outrage when it was released. Love said he reached out to the studio at the time and executives promised to send out a revised poster as well as to find him future roles to make up for what happened. The actor alleges the studio never came through and his career stagnated as a result.
“…attempting to assuage Mr. Love and prevent his filing suit, [Universal] promised both (i) the immediate cessation of the racist international poster, and (ii) prompt recompense to Mr. Love in the form of lucrative, career-making film roles. Universal Studios lied,” the lawsuit says.
The actor is accusing the studio of fraud and breach of contract. The lawsuit also alleges the poster without Love and Hawk is still in use overseas and with bilingual audiences in the U.S.
Couples Retreat grossed over $171M at the worldwide box office.