When mania thrives, insensitivity follows. With ‘Barbenheimer’s promotion going around with comical images something was bound to happen. Warner Bros’ promotion of Barbie and Oppenheimer is being heavily condemned by some Japanese Twitter users. Previously, a meme circulated depicting Cillian Murphy carrying Margot Robbie on his shoulder whilst surrounded by flames resulting from an atomic explosion. Warner Bros tweeted, “It’s going to be a summer to remember,” in response to the image.
The marketing of the image delved into the past traumatic sentiments of the Japanese by the reminder of the horrific bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima which killed over 110,000 people in 1945 during World War II. In reciprocation, some Japanese users have made a mockery of the promotion by placing the Barbie logo on a picture of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack, and in another one Osama Bin Laden carried Margot Robbie’s Barbie on his shoulder.
The Warner Bros of Japan condemned the US anticipation of the Barbenheimer trend, tweeting, “Because the movies Barbie and Oppenheimer were both released in the US on 21 July, there is currently a movement driven by overseas fans to watch them together (#Barbenheimer), but this is not an official movement. We find the reaction to this fan-driven movement from the official US account for the movie Barbie to be extremely regrettable. We take this very seriously and are asking the US head office to take appropriate action. We apologize to those offended by these inconsiderate actions.”
After this, there is a statement by Warner Bros. US that it “regrets its recent insensitive social media engagement. The studio offers a sincere apology.”