Universal Pictures is in some hot water with actor and comedian Fiazon Love suing the studio over allegations of racial discrimination. Pertaining to Love’s involvement in the 2009 romantic comedy Couples Retreat, the lawsuit was filed on Wednesday of this week. The complaint stems from the changes made to the movie’s overseas poster, which completely removes the names and images of Love and co-star Kali Hawk while all of their white costars remain.
Faizon Love claims that the change to the posters was deliberate, as while Universal had no problem featuring Black actors and characters, they allegedly chose to segregate them when it came time to promote the movie to an international audience. Love also alleges that when he questioned Universal about the change, the studio played dumb, which screams of “white arrogance in Hollywood.”
“It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t, ‘Hey, we’ve run out of Black ink,'” Love joked to TMZ, explaining the details of the case. “To say that, ‘We’re going to put you in the film, and we’re going to promote it, but I don’t think anybody knows you overseas.’ Okay, say nobody does know me overseas. How are they going to get to know me? Why cast me in your film that you know is going to go overseas? It doesn’t make sense.”
Now, Love is opening up publicly about the controversy, after officially filing his discrimination lawsuit against the studio. Stating that John Boyega had dealt with the same situation while Disney was promoting Star Wars, Love says he wishes he would have spoken out sooner. The actor says he initially let it slide when producer Scott Stuber told him that the altered poster would be removed from circulation and former chairman Adam Fogelson also promised more roles for Love in future Universal movies. Neither ever occurred, eventually leading to Love’s new lawsuit getting filed this week.
Directed by Peter Billingsley and written by Jon Favreau, Dana Fox, and star Vince Vaughn, Couples Retreat was released in theaters in 2009. The movie follows four couples vacationing on a tropical island resort with a variety of hilarious shenanigans ensuing. One couple is there to specifically work on their marriage, while the others just want to enjoy their time in paradise. Love and Hawk serve as one of the four couples, with their co-stars including Vaughn and Malin Akerman; Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis; and Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell. Jean Reno also stars as the founder and lead therapist of the resort.
Love has continued to act frequently in the years since appearing in Couples Retreat. He recently starred in a Bulletproof sequel, taking over the role played by Damon Wayans in the original, and also appeared in the Robert DeNiro comedy The War with Grandpa. Love has also consistently had roles in popular TV series, such as Black-ish, Real Husbands of Hollywood, and Step Up: High Water. As of now, Universal has not officially commented on the lawsuit filed against them by Love. This news comes to us from TMZ.