U.S. studio attempts to dodge backlash by keeping apology low-key, driving #NoBarbenheimer to trend in Japan.

Anyone who’s ever visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan will know that the nuclear bomb is no joke. There, at the site where one of two atomic bombs were dropped, the other being at nearby Nagasaki, museum visitors come face-to-face with human hair, fingernails, and skin that fell away from people who suffered from radiation poisoning following the blast. Other artefacts are equally chilling, including pieces of clothing that stuck to human bodies as their skin melted.

So when #Barbenheimer posts started trending overseas, with people mashing together images of smiling characters from Barbie with images of mushroom clouds from Oppenheimer, two movies that were released overseas on the same day, it made a lot of people in Japan feel uncomfortable. However, when the social media marketing team from Warner Bros. in the U.S. started replying to these tweets with playful comments through its official Barbie movie account, something had to be done.

That something was the Warner Bros. Japan branch releasing a statement on its official Barbie movie Twitter account, as seen below.

The tweet reads:

“Both the movie Barbie (distributed by Warner Bros.) and the movie Oppenheimer (distributed by Universal Pictures), were released in the United States on 21 July so there is currently a movement (#Barbenheimer) by overseas fans to watch  the movies together, but this movement and its activities are not official. We consider it extremely regrettable that the U.S. head office, through its official Barbie movie account, reacted to social media posts by fans involved in this movement, and we take this situation very seriously. We are asking the U.S. head office to take appropriate action. We apologise to those who were offended by this series of inconsiderate actions. Warner Bros. Japan G.K.”

A day later, on 1 August, the Warner Bros. head office in the U.S. distributed an apology through a number of media outlets, which read:

“Warner Brothers regrets its recent insensitive social media engagement. The studio offers a sincere apology.”  

It was a much shorter apology than the one issued in Japan, and at the time of writing, the apology had not been published on the offending account that had previously reacted to the controversial images with comments such as, “We’re always thinking PINK 💞” and “It’s going to be a summer to remember 😘💕

At the time the first apology was issued, the #NoBarbenheimer hashtag had begun trending in Japan, but following the second apology the hashtag gathered even more momentum, with people leaving comments such as:

“This feels like they’ve just apologised for the sake of it.”
“Arrogant and impudent.”
“If 9/11 was made into a joke like this, people would be outraged.”
“It’s like they’re laughing at over 100,000 dead children.”
“They should fire the person who sent out the tweets.”

Warner Bros. is yet to make any further statement about the issue, including what actions they’re taking to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. However, with Barbie director Greta Gerwig due to appear in Japan for the local premiere on 2 August, she may have to face some uncomfortable questions from fans.

Source: Twitter/@BarbieMovie_jp via Hachima Kikou
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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