Warner Bros., the distributor of Hollywood movie “Barbie”, officially apologized for the ‘Barbenheimer’ controversy.
According to various foreign media outlets, such as Forbes and BBC, on August 1st (local time), Warner Bros issued an official position, saying “We apologize for our recent engagement in insensitive social media content. The studio would like to deliver our sincere apology”.
Released in the US on July 21st, “Barbie” became a box office hit alongside the movie “Oppenheimer”, which started its premiere on the same day. Therefore, photos editing characters in the two movies with the word “Barbenheimer” spread widely on the Internet.
“Barbie” tells about what Barbie experiences after leaving the doll world “Barbie Land” and entering the human world. “Oppenheimer” revolves around the life of individuals of the same name who led the development of atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
In an edited photo called “Barbenheimer” created by movie fans, the atomic bomb developer Oppenheimer carries smiling Barbie on his shoulder against the backdrop of a sea of flames. There are also pictures of Barbie’s hair being replaced by the mushroom cloud.
“Barbie” SNS account responded positively to these images, leaving comments, such as “It’s going to be a summer to remember”, along with heart emojis. However, “Barbie” immediately faced harsh criticism from Japanese netizens as they accused “Barbie” of glorifying the tragic event of the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing. Some even raised their voice calling out people to boycott “Barbie” using the hashtag #NoBarbenheimer.
In this regard, Warner Bros. Japan, the distributor of “Barbie” in Japan, made an official statement on July 31st, saying “There is a movement (Barbenheimer) created by overseas fans to encourage people to watch both ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ in the US, but this is not our official stance.”
They continued, “We are sorry for the action that lacks consideration of “Barbie”’s official US account. We acknowledge the seriousness of this situation and have demanded an appropriate response from the US headquarters”, adding “We apologize to people who were offended by this series of responses that lacked consideration”.
The next day, Warner Bros. US issued an apology and tried to solve the controversy.
Meanwhile, “Barbie” is scheduled to premiere in Japan on August 11th, and there will also be events with the attendance of director Greta Gerwig and actress Margot Robbie. The release date of “Oppenheimer” in Japan has not been decided.