Ghost in the Shell's marketing campaign has backfired spectacularly

A viral marketing campaign launched to promote Ghost in the Shell has backfired as fans hijacked it to complain about whitewashing.

A teaser for the movie - which spent several months filming in New Zealand - features Scarlett Johansson in character as The Major saying "I am hunted. I am the hunter. I am coming for them. I am Major".

Fans were then directed to a website that asked them to add a photo of themselves and finish the sentence, "I am ..."

Internet users rapidly took the campaign in a different direction, using the website to criticise the film's whitewashed casting of Johansson as a character who is originally Japanese.

Images were quickly captured and reposted by Twitter users



Pictures were shared as people used the campaign to criticise Hollywood's history of whitewashing in big-budget films.




Johansson addressed the controversy recently, telling Marie Claire: "I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.

"Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that-the weight of such a big property on my shoulders," she said.

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Ghost in the Shell was primarily filmed in Wellington, with Johansson describing the experience as "quiet" and "pleasant".

Journalists were told not to ask Johansson about the whitewashing claims during a set visit in Wellington.

- NZ Herald

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