Racebending, or whitewashing, of films is sadly commonplace in Hollywood, but Ridley Scott's upcoming biblical epic, Exodus: Gods and Kings, may have truly crossed the line into racist territory.
An online petition is calling for a boycott of the film for choosing an all-white cast to portray legends of the Bible like Moses (Christian Bale), Joshua (Aaron Paul), Rhamses (Joel Edgerton) and Tuya (Sigourney Weaver), while the only Black actors in the film cast as villains, thieves, slaves and "lower class civilians" of Egypt.
"To make the main characters White and everyone else African is cinematic colonialism," writes blogger David Dennis, Jr. "It’s creating a piece of historical 'art' that carries on oppressive imagery that’s helped shackle entire countries and corners of the world."
Adds Ryan Herring of Sojourner.com, "When we entrust our religious narratives to Hollywood, the deep messages they contain are paired with pictures. And when those pictures never represent people of color, the message that is then conveyed is that people of color exist outside of God's spiritual imagination, that God is not available to them, that they are not seen as loved or cherished by God."
Cinema fans appalled by Scott's casting choices have taken to Twitter to launch the #BoycottExodusMovie campaign. The film is the latest in a string of biblical tales to be accused of whitewashing, the most recent being Darren Aronofsky's Noah.
Neither Scott nor any of the filmmakers or producers behind Exodus have commented on the outrage. Let's see if the boycott is effective once Exodus hits theaters on December 14.
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(Photo: Kerry Brown/TM /Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)