The upcoming film chronicling the events following the Christchurch shooting is drawing lots of controversy and many are petitioning for it to be CANCELLED!
The upcoming film titled They Are Us is receiving tons of backlash for being "insensitive" to the Muslim victims.
The film stars Rose Byrne as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and follows the events after the Christchurch shootings that killed 51 people across two mosques.
They Are Us seems like a good idea on the surface as it takes inspiration from one of the PM's speeches after the massacre.
Director Andrew Niccol told The Hollywood Reporter:
They Are Us is not so much about the attack but the response to the attack… how an unprecedented act of hate was overcome by an outpouring of love and support.
The film addresses our common humanity, which is why I think it will speak to people around the world. It is an example of how we should respond when there’s an attack on our fellow human beings.
However, with a closer inspection, many New Zealanders find that the film focuses more on the PM's response to the event while sidelining the Muslim victims. Ultimately "whitewashing" the event.
This triggered a select few to start a Change.org petition calling for the film to be shut down. At the moment of this writing, the petition has garnered over 63,000 signatures.
The petition reads:
The film centres white voices and therefore will continue to white-wash the horrific violence perpetrated against Muslim communities.
It also reads:
It is also inappropriate that the film appears to centre PM Jacinda Ardern, a white woman. She received praise in the wake of the attacks but there are ongoing issues with the government’s response, including that witnesses who were not physically injured cannot access mental health support through [Accident Compensation Corporation], and the lack of urgency changing hate speech laws.
The Major of Christchurch is also apparently showing his support to the cause by not allowing the crew to enter Christchurch to film the movie.
The Mayor of Christchurch has declared that the crew behind They Are Us are not welcomed into Christchurch for the movie. She states that it is not the appropriate movie to make. This comes after the petition reaching 40k signatures. Keep signing! #TheyAreUsShutDown— Shaneel Lal (They/Them) (@shaneellall) June 12, 2021
Andrew Niccol is set to write and direct the film. The petition argues that it’s ‘not appropriate for Niccol, someone who has not experienced racism or Islamophobia, to lead and profit off a story that is not his to tell.’
Do you agree with the petition? If you do, click here to sign.