Destination Ciné tears into Mulan cut out/stand after it was announced the film would be going directly to Disney+. Is that racist?
— Destination Ciné (@destinationcine) August 6, 2020
Recently it was announced that Mulan would be headed directly to Disney+ after numerous delays. It has garnered mixed reactions. While many fans are excited to finally see the film, the price point and exclusivity have them concerned. Outside of fan reactions, we now have the reactions of theater owners, specifically the owner of Destination Ciné in France. After months of promoting the film, he is visibly upset with Disney’s decision, to say the least. You can see the reaction above from Destination Ciné’s twitter.
Now the question, is Destination Ciné’s owner going Barry Bonds on the Mulan cut out/stand racist?
No, but it does look and feel like it.
Seeing a white guy take a bat to the image of an Asian woman, especially with rising anti-Asian sentiment does feel racist. If you don’t read and just see the video, it’s likely your first reaction. Understanding, this guy’s livelihood is tremendously affected by this decision and he likely had 0 input on the matter and is not being compensated in any way, he is fully justified in his anger. And on a housekeeping sense, he’s going to have to tear it down anyways to throw it away. I worked in a movie theater, we always had to break those things to get them in the compactor. Sometimes for fun, we took broom handles and whatever other objects around and went to town. It’s common practice. I do not fault the guy one bit.
However, the optics of this are bad. He’s still taking a bat to the image of a person. He’s still an obviously elder white guy and that image is obviously of an Asian woman. The visuals overpower the context and will likely, and understandably, cause people to view this as a racist gesture. That kneejerk reaction is why I dove into this situation.
I whole-heartedly believe there is no bigoted intent in this video. I’m sure if it was Tenet, Black Widow, or Wonder Woman, the same thing would have happened. However, the optics are really bad. Destination Ciné cannot avoid the immediate imagery of a white guy attacking an Asian woman. Similar sentiments would be had if he was taking the bat to an image of Black Widow, Wonder Woman, or John David Washington on a Tenet cut-out. (I’m pretty sure there’d be no reaction if he just hit a cut out of the Tenet logo)
While the emotions and situation are understandable and relatable, visually you see a person attacking another person rather than a person being fiscally harmed by a major corporation he is partnered with. While I understand and know there is no racist/bigoted intent in the situation, it sure does look and feel like it.