The Warner Bros. Film Group in the United States has issued a public apology about social media activity concerning the ‘Barbenheimer’ meme, which has caused outrage in Japan, Variety reported. “Warner Brothers sincerely apologises for its recent insensitive social media engagement.” “The studio sincerely apologises,” the firm wrote in an email to Variety on Tuesday.
This comes after public criticism of Warner in Japan, the launch of an online petition against the studio, and an unexpected step by Warner’s Japanese distribution arm. Warner Bros. Japan issued a statement on its official Japanese-language “Barbie” Twitter account on Monday, criticising the studio’s U.S. division for participating in the ‘Barbenheimer’ social media frenzy. The “Barbie” US Twitter account has interacted with some fan posts regarding ‘Barbenheimer,’ which alludes to the simultaneous summer releases of Universal’s “Oppenheimer” and Warner Bros.’ “Barbie.” Both films were released on July 21 in North America and many overseas regions and quickly became box office smashes. During their debuts, they helped propel the box office to its fourth highest-grossing weekend in history. ’Oppenheimer’ has not yet been released in Japan, and no release date has been set. While the film debates the issue of whether bombings ultimately saved lives and brought world peace, the current clash highlights the enduring sensitivity of the nuclear weapons debate in Japan, as per Variety. According to some estimates, the two atomic bombs launched by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 killed as many as 250,000 people. “We consider it extremely regrettable that the official account of the American headquarters for the movie ‘Barbie’ reacted to the social media postings of ‘Barbenheimer’ fans,” Warner Bros. Japan wrote in a statement published on the ‘Barbie’ Japan Twitter profile. “We take this situation very seriously. We are asking the U.S. headquarters to take appropriate action. We apologize to those who were offended by this series of inconsiderate reactions. Warner Bros Japan.” In response to one ‘Barbenheimer’ fan art poster depicting Margot Robbie’s Barbie perched on Cillian Murphy’s J. Robert Oppenheimer’s shoulders in front of a flaming atomic mushroom cloud, the ‘Barbie’ U.S. Twitter account tweeted, “It’s going to be a summer to remember.” Twitter, now known as X, updated the tweet with a community comment explaining the historical background of the mushroom cloud picture. “At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945 (Showa 20 Hiroshima for the first time in human history,” the Twitter note reads. “The particular nature of the damage caused by the atomic bombs is that mass destruction and mass murder occurred instantaneously and indiscriminately.”
In Japan, the ‘Barbenheimer’ craze has drawn criticism for trivialising the horrific catastrophe wrought by atomic bombs. In recent days, the hashtag #NoBarbenheimer has been trending across the country. (ANI)