Target: Anchor Bay Entertainment CEO Bill Clark
Goal: Do not revise the DVD cover art for ‘The Sapphires’ to hide the women of color
Recently, there has been controversy over the Australian movie ‘The Sapphires’ as the DVD cover art for the United States release was revealed. The movie portrays the struggle of four Aboriginal women to become singers in the 1960s. The Australian DVD cover shows the four stars of the movie front and center. However, the United States DVD cover prominently shows actor Chris O’Dowd, a white actor who portrays the singers’ manager in the movie. The four women are behind him, with their images tinted the same blue as the background. This new cover hides the fact that women of color are the stars of the movie, and is seen as racist by many people.
While O’Dowd’s character is an important role in the movie, he is not more important than the women of color whose characters face important struggles against racism and sexism. The fact that they are hidden on the DVD cover shows that these actresses must still face the same issues their characters faced. The original members of The Sapphires, the singers on which the movie is based, have written to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People about this whitewashed cover. According to their letter, ‘the treatment of people of colour in Australia mirrored much of the trauma to which people in the United States were subjected. That trauma – and much of that treatment – remains alive and well in Australia today, as…it does in the United States.’ This DVD cover entirely negates the message of the movie by hiding the women of color who fought for representation.
The company which released this cover, Anchorage Bay Entertainment, has apologized for the racism and sexism present in the image used. However, the company has made no promises to change this cover, instead only said that they are ‘considering’ a new cover for U.S. audiences. There is no reason the DVD cover needs to be any different, especially if changing it will cause this much controversy. The original cover portrays these women of color in a positive light, while the new cover hides them behind a white man. Tell Anchorage Bay Entertainment that the original cover should be kept.
Dear Mr. Clark:
Recently, the United States DVD cover of the movie ‘The Sapphires’ was revealed. This cover shows actor Chris O’Dowd prominently in the center, while the four women of color who are the stars of the movie are hidden behind him. This is a significant change from the DVD cover of the original Australian release, which clearly shows the women as the stars of the movie. The new cover is believed by many to be racist and sexist, as it hides the women of color behind one white man.
I ask you to keep the original DVD cover for the United States release. Although you have apologized for this cover, this apology is not enough. You have only said that you will consider a new cover, instead of promising to change it to a less controversial image. There is no need to change the cover image at all, as the original truly promotes these women of color as the stars of the movie. The movie is intended to show problems of racism and sexism. The DVD cover should not add to those problems.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment via Toshiba.com