Who is Faizon Love? Actor sues makers of 'Couples Retreat' for 'whitewashing' him from 2009 film's poster

'They have not only hurt me financially, they have hurt me in a deeper way by dismissing me because of my Blackness', the actor said


                            Who is Faizon Love? Actor sues makers of 'Couples Retreat' for 'whitewashing' him from 2009 film's poster
(Universal Studios)

Actor Faizon Love has sued Universal Pictures on Wednesday, November 25, accusing the studios and the makers of the hit film, 'Couples Retreat' for violating California’s fair employment and civil rights laws with the international poster for its 2009 comedy movie, calling it an “act of racism.” Love has claimed that he and his co-star Kali Hawk, who was also Black, were taken out from the international promotional poster in the 2009 film by Universal Studios and hence he has sued the Studios and its partners.

Love and Hawk, who were the only Black couple in the film, had originally appeared in the International poster earlier. The film revolves around four couples who go on a resort trip to repair their relationships. Love's lawsuit also claims the studio promised him to give him future roles when they originally sought to placate him over the controversy, states DailyMail. 

''When it came to publicizing the film to international audiences, Universal Studios chose to segregate the motion picture's White and Black actors,'' the suit, filed in LA Superior Court on Wednesday, November 25, claims. It states: ''This act of racism deeply aggrieved Mr. Love. After decades spent honing his craft and compiling more than 50 acting credits, Mr. Love reasonably believed Couples Retreat was his opportunity to present to national and international audiences his talents as a prominent Black comedic actor.'' According to the suit: ''Love and his Black costar, Kali Hawk, were expunged completely from the film's principal international advertisement, while the other "couples" basked in the publicity and acclaim of an international box office hit.''

In November 2009 the studio openly said that it 'regretted causing offense' and committed to abandoning the poster altogether. At the time after Universal was swamped by letters of complaints and negative press coverage, it quickly moved to quell the outrage by agreeing to return to its original poster with the full cast for future international releases. But the damage was done. 

“This film was a big money-maker for Universal, but instead of honoring my work and my contract, the studio chose to render me invisible to billions of moviegoers around the world,” Love said. The suit also claims that Vince Vaughn, a co-star of the film “went so far as to tell Mr. Love that making a big deal about his removal from the poster would not be good for his career at that time.”

“They have not only hurt me financially, they have hurt me in a deeper way by dismissing me because of my Blackness — and they have hurt all Black performers by continuing to perpetuate racism in the movie industry,” Love said. “I want to ensure that future generations don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.”

Born on June 14, 1968, Langston Faizon Santisima also known as Faizon Love, is best known for roles in the films 'The Meteor Man', 'Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood', 'Friday, B*A*P*S, Torque', 'Elf', 'The Replacements', 'Made', and 'Couples Retreat'. Also, he is known for playing the character of Wendell Wilcox on 'The Parent Hood' from 1995–1998. 

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