Social media fury over ‘sexist, racist’ DVD cover


The upcoming DVD release of The Sapphires in the US and Canada has sparked a social media backlash, with Australian campaigners calling it racist and sexist.

The film, The Sapphires, tells the inspiring true story of an Indigenous singing troupe.

Actresses Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell play the four leads in the hit movie.

But not according to upcoming DVD cover for release in the United States and Canada.

The cover has actor Chris O’Dowd, who plays their manager, front and centre.

Images: DVD covers for US release (left) and Australian release (right).

Australian campaigner Lucy Manne says the cover betrays the message of the movie.

“I think it’s really disgraceful to be honest,” says Lucy Manne.

“This is a film about them struggling in the entertainment industry to  overcome racism and sexism – it relegates them to the background,  disguises their skin colour for some reason, makes them look like  back-up singers.”

Ms Manne has started an online petition to have the US DVD cover changed.

So far the petition has around 3,000 supporters.

A spokesman for the movie’s producers says: “Every territory changes the artwork for their market.”

Irishman Chris O’Dowd is well-known in the US for his role in the comedy Bridesmaids, and therefore more marketable to the American public.

But even he isn’t happy with the new design.

When asked his opinion on Twitter he replied:

“It’s ridiculous, it’s misleading, ill-judged, insensitive and everything the film wasn’t.”

Indigenous commentators say its offensive to assume having Aboriginal women on the cover won’t sell.

“I think it’s insensitive all-round, Australia hides its Aboriginal talent. It’s time we stopped doing that,” says Tjanara Goreng Goreng.

The American film distributor Anchor Bay and Australian production house Hopscotch films did not respond to requests for comment.

The American and Canadian DVD release is scheduled for next week.



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