Online outcry mounts over ‘whitewashing’ of ‘The Sapphires’ DVD cover

05 August, 2013 by IF

Press Release

More than 2,000 people sign petition on calling for US and Canadian version of DVD cover to be changed; actor Chris O’Dowd describes cover as “vile” and “ridiculous”


More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for changes to “The Sapphires” DVD cover ahead of its US/Canada release next week, with the male actor featured on the cover, Chris O’Dowd, describing it as “vile”, “ridiculous” and “offensive”.

The Sapphires” – a film based on the true story of four young Indigenous Australian women who formed a singing group that entertained the troops in Vietnam in the 1960s – is set to be released in Canada and the US next week, but the cover chosen by its distributor, Anchor Bay, has sparked outrage online.

The cover features a prominent photo of a male supporting character, played by O’Dowd, with the female stars of the show relegated to the background – and their skin-colour disguised by a blue monotone effect.

Melbourne resident Lucy Manne, who started the petition on, said the cover was “disgusting”.

The Sapphires is a film about four Aboriginal women who battled against racism and sexism to succeed in the entertainment industry in the 1960s – and now that same industry has insulted their story and legacy by white-washing and gender-washing the film’s promotional material,” said Lucy.

The story has caught the attention of bloggers and media around the world, including film critic MaryAnn Johanson who wrote: “Movies about women are rare enough. Movies about black women are even rarer. And now we’re gonna pretend the movies about women, whatever their color, aren’t even about them at all?"

O’Dowd tweeted yesterday that the US cover was “vile”, “ridiculous”, “misleading” and “everything the film wasn’t”.

For live signature updates and comments on Lucy Manne’s petition: