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Ghostbusters trailer criticized for racial stereotyping


It’s the film fans have been waiting decades for. And today, the first trailer for the hotly-anticipated Ghostbusters re-boot was finally released.

But while many praised the hilarious clip, showing Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones battling New York’s supernatural nasties, some have complained that the film is falling back on racial stereotypes.

That’s because, while the white leads, McCarthy, Wiig and McKinnon, play brilliant engineers, professors and scientists, Jones’ character is a simple NYC Subway worker.

On Twitter, many viewers demanded to know why the African American actress couldn’t play a scientist too.

Matthew Cherry wrote on Twitter: ‘Everyone’s a brilliant scientist except for Leslie Hones who works at the train station & got the hearse hookup.’

Nile Dunn agreed adding: They could have at least made her a scientist too.’

‘It’s stupid, outdated logic but sadly accurate,’ Neal Noakes said. ‘Hollywood films need to diversify.’

Another Twitter user, Max Landis, complained that the portrayal of black characters in movies had barely moved on from the early Eighties.

‘Remember in Ghostbusters when Winston was like “Oh Hellll no”, he wrote. ‘Remember in Empire when Lando said ‘Droid, please!’

We’e come so far.’

But Leslie Jones has hit back at the critics, and defended her role as Patty Tolan who joins the team because she knows the city better than anyone, and after she spotted a ghost while working at a subway station.

‘Who gives a f***?’ she tweeted. ‘It’s a movie, shut up and go watch. Omg it’s not science actually. ‘You guys b***h about nothing.’

She added that her white co-stars were ‘not scientist either they are ACTORS!!’ and said that even if her character had been a scientist, some people would have found reason to complain.

‘If they made me a scientist you would be mad at what type of scientist. Seriously it’s a f**king movie get over yourself.’

While much of the film is still shrouded in mystery, the trailer, released today, allows fans a glimpse of the four heroines Abby Yates (McCarthy), Erin Gilbert (Wiig), Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) and Jones’ Patty, at work.

Erin is a highly intelligent physics professor, while Jillian is a ‘brilliant engineer’ – meaning that we are going to see the paranormal exterminators armed with more than just Proton Packs.

Abby, a fellow scientist, is the ringleader who is passionate about paranormal activity, while Patty joins the team because she knows the city better than anyone, and spotted a ghost while working at a subway station.

She also provides the team with a car – but it’s not exactly what they were expecting.

‘You didn’t disclose that the vehicle was going to be a hearse,’ Abby tells an excited Patty, who fires back: ‘It’s a Cadillac!’

Director Pail Feig is a big fan of the original film, and wanted to pay homage by making the lead characters scientists.

‘It was really important to us to make them scientists,’ he said. ‘That’s what I love about the first one, the idea of funny people fighting the paranormal with science.’

He also decided to make a reboot instead of a sequel so that the audience could see the group ‘develop’ the tools that they needed to fight the ghosts.

‘I didn’t like the idea of them being handed technology,’ he said. ‘I wanted to see it develop. I’m such a tech head. I’m completely geeking out over these proton packs in the front of the theatre.’

The two-and-a-half-minute long trailer showed fans that everyone’s favorite ghost Slimer will be back, and he is joined by many friends.

What’s more, the ghosts in the film can possess a human form, and we get to see one of them enter Abby’s body, until Patty slaps her with all her might, shouting: ‘Oh hell no, the devil is a liar! Get out of my friend, ghost!’

After Abby is back to normal, Patty still continues to hit her around the face, yelling: ‘The power of Patty compels you!’

There’s also plenty of ectoplasm, silly one-liners, the Ecto-1 vehicle and those grey jumpsuits.


Meanwhile, Feig addressed the idea of remaking the film with an all-female cast, explaining that the team ‘don’t’ plan to address controversy over the decision.

‘I just want the funniest people and the funniest people I happen to know are these women,’ he shared. ‘It should never be about that. Ghostbusters are for everybody.’

He added: ‘When I see pictures of young girls making Ghostbusters costumes it chokes me up, I just like the idea that a new generation will have their own that they will love as much as the original guys.’

By now, it is well-known that there will be cameos from members of the original cast, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver.

‘When you see the movie there will be a lot of things that you will be happy to see but they will be coming at you in a different way,’ Feig said during the talk, according to Press Association. ‘Slimer makes an appearance – you can’t do Ghostbusters without Slimer.’

He added, according to Entertainment Weekly: ‘You know the things you love the most. Let’s just say they show up in one way or another. And hopefully in ways that are surprising.’

And he also said that there was no way they were going to reboot the franchise without its iconic theme song.

‘You will hear the song; you can’t do it without it,’ Feig explained. ‘We are playing with the original and some new versions.’

Ghostbusters hits cinemas in the US and UK on July 15.