Faizon Love is reportedly suing Universal Studios because he claims they whitewashed the international poster for the 2009 movie Couples Retreat.
PEOPLE reports that the 52-year-old actor’s lawsuit accuses the studio of breach of contract, fraud and discrimination for removing him and his costar, Kali Hawk, from the film’s poster when it opened overseas. The allegations stem from a press release received by the celebrity news outlet.
Love and Hawk were the only two Black lead actors in the film that also featured Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, Kristen Davis, Malin Akerman and more.
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“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,” Love said in the statement. “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.”
Universal Studios has not yet issued a comment over the suit.
Love said the reason he filed the lawsuit was “for the discriminatory practices against Blacks and people of color in the entertainment industry. I want to ensure that future generations don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.”
Love also alleges that Universal Studios guaranteed him back during the period the film was released it would stop presenting an advertisement that didn’t feature him or Hawk in it.
Variety recently revealed lawsuit documents they obtained that Love claims the studio was continuing to use the poster abroad and claims the studio broke its promise to him. Additionally he says the studio reneged on a promise of future film roles and a role opposite Vaughn in a TV show.
Finally, Love says the then chairman of Universal Pictures, Adam Fogelson, called him in November 2009 “and apologized for the racist poster.”
“Mr. Fogelson could not, and did not attempt to justify the racist poster, and told Mr. Love that defendants would fix the problem by not using the offending image going forward,” the legal documents relay. “Scott Stuber, who at the time headed Stuber Pictures, a producer of Couples Retreat, and who was under a five-year production deal with Universal Studios, called Mr. Love to apologize for the use of the racist poster, likewise promising that it would be destroyed and never used again to promote the movie.”