Faizon Love has filed a lawsuit against Universal Studios. He's accusing the studio of race discrimination for removing him from the international poster for the 2009 comedy Couples Retreat, Variety reports. The suit also accuses Universal of fraud, breach of contract, and violation of California’s fair employment act and civil rights law.
“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,” Love said in a statement.
Love filed the suit 11 years later because he only recently realized that the poster without him and his Black co-star Kali Hawk remains prevalent abroad and among bilingual audiences. Their names aren’t even mentioned in the poster. Check them out below.
After initially discovering that he was removed from the poster for the film’s international release, Love says he received an apologetic call from producer Scott Stuber. Love also claims he was approached by Adam Fogelson, Universal chairman at the time, about future TV and film roles. He now believes those broken promises were only made to keep him from causing an uproar over the issue.
“What Universal Studios had initially portrayed to Mr. Love as an unintentional act of oversight and carelessness was, we now know, an intentional act of disparate and discriminatory treatment by Universal Studios and the remaining Defendants,” the lawsuit alleges.
In the suit, Love alleges his Couples Retreat co-star Vince Vaughn helped Universal in their efforts to keep him quiet because he “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 the time.”
Love says Universal Studios didn’t follow up on their alleged promises to include him in future film and TV opportunities, and in fact, his career never took off since the incident. Love explains that his suit is to “ensure that future generations [of Black performers] don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.”