Different variations of the “Dune” poster have ignited a controversy surrounding Chinese audiences and media portrayals.
The initial claims: Earlier reports claimed that Black actor Sharon Duncan-Brewster was removed from the poster of “Dune” in China and replaced with Taiwanese actor Chang Chen; but the conversation grew more complicated as this was proven to be mostly untrue.
- The controversy began when photos surfaced which showed Taiwanese actor Chang Chen in the spot of Black actor Sharon Duncan-Brewster on promotional posters for the movie in China.
- This controversy drew comparisons to an earlier, verified incident in which Black actor John Boyega’s image was shrunken for the promotional poster for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in China.
— Ray 鄺羡華 (@raykwong) December 1, 2015
The rebuttal: However, social media users quickly pointed out that multiple versions of the posters were circulating in China, complicating the initial narrative.
- Although one version of the promotional posters does show Chen and not Duncan-Brewster, this promotional poster was not developed for Chinese audiences but was used previously in Western countries as well.
- Photos on social media demonstrate that both versions of the poster are being circulated in China, just as they had been in Western countries.
Did y’all not link the original tweet because you knew it was already deleted/retracted but you still really wanted to push this story?https://t.co/SxvMA1Q8Cm
— Daniel Dumbrill (@DanielDumbrill) October 26, 2021
The controversy plays into a larger conversation about Chinese audiences and media and questions about anti-Black racism in East Asia.