Challengers representatives step in after movie poster with racial slur goes viral

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Apr 29, 2024 at 12:43 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

Unless we’re talking about the power of Barbie, it is rare for a movie to break the internet before it has even launched. But what else can be expected when Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino teams up with Gen Z goddess Zendaya for a sports movie featuring one of the sexiest love triangles that has graced the big screen in recent years?

With its highly-anticipated release on Friday 26 April 2024, the film naturally ended up dominating headlines and conversations on social media all weekend. Unfortunately, one of these discussions was centred around a racist version of the movie poster that seemed to depict an abbreviated version of the N-word…

It all started when the movie account Films to Films on X, formerly Twitter, shared a fanmade poster of the hit movie. Interestingly, the artist who had created the promotional poster chose to break up the word ‘challengers’ and stack the different parts as ‘challe’ and ‘ngers’ above each other.

Shortly after the image was posted, it went hyper-viral on the platform.

Considering that the movie stars mixed-raced actress Zendaya, people immediately started to connect the second part of the title to the word, n*gger, or alternatively spelled n*gga. It is infamously an incredibly contemptuous racial slur directed at Black people.

Online, the reactions ranged from confusion and outrage to disgust at the artist’s choice of depicting the title. At best, it seemed to be a serious quality control issue and at worst, it could have been an intentional attempt to tarnish the lead actress of one of 2024’s most anticipated and celebrated movies.

Following the explosive reactions to the unofficial poster, the Challengers social media team fired back with its own X post:

Netizens praised the social media team for their classy and elegant response to the debacle:

The official account also slapped Films to Films with a community note to highlight that they are not affiliated with the Challengers movie. Fair enough.

When the anger over the poster started to die down, the owner of Films to Films told its audience of almost 32,000 followers in a now-deleted post to “take into account that [they’re] a black woman” and that they “don’t take responsibility for what you make out of something [they] post here.”

The account still had nothing but praise to spare for the movie that has been hailed as Zendaya’s crowning moment and one of Guadagnino’s best projects to date.

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