Remember when Universal Pictures removed Faizon Love and Kali Hawk from the Couples Retreat movie poster? Well, he has filed a lawsuit against them for race discrimination.
You may recall the original poster for the 2009 film featured four couples. But, when the film was released overseas, they removed Faizon and Kali, the only non-white couple, from the poster.
In a statement, Faizon Love alleged he is a victim of whitewashing.
This film was a big money-maker for Universal, but instead of honoring my work and my contract, the studio chose to render me invisible to billions of moviegoers around the world.
They have not only hurt me financially, they have hurt me in a deeper way by dismissing me because of my Blackness — and they have hurt all Black performers by continuing to perpetuate racism in the movie industry.
I want to ensure that future generations don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.
When he and Kali were initially removed from the poster, Universal said they regretted causing offense and would discontinue the poster.
Love recently discovered that the offending image remains in wide use to market the film abroad and among bilingual audiences in the U.S. Love alleges that Universal executives broke their promise, and also reneged on an offer of lucrative TV and film roles, which he now believes was an effort to keep him quiet about the controversy.
The suit also alleges that Vince Vaughn, a co-star of the film, was looped into the effort to placate Love. According to the claim, Vaughn “went so far as to tell Mr. Love that making a big deal about his removal from the poster would not be good for his career at that time.”
Faizon Love’s lawsuit accuses Universal Pictures of breach of contract, fraud, and violation of California’s fair employment act and civil rights law.