One of the “They Are Us” producers has exited the project amid the backlash surrounding the Rose Byrne-led film.
The movie, about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response to the horrific 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks, has been widely criticized.
New Zealand’s Muslim community has also slammed the film, with more than 60,000 now signing a petition calling for it to be axed as it “side-lines the victims and survivors and instead centres the response of a white woman.”
Producer Philippa Campbell has since released a statement, apologizing for any distress the movie has caused.
“I have listened to the concerns raised over recent days and I have heard the strength of people’s views,” Campbell said in a statement to New Zealand media, according to Deadline.
“I now agree that the events of 15 March, 2019 are too raw for film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress.”
The statement continued, “When I was approached to work on the film I was moved by the filmmakers’ vision to pay respect to the victims, their families, and those who assisted them. This was reinforced by research interviews undertaken by producer Ayman Jamal with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch.
“I also hoped that telling the story of swift gun control action might resonate in America and other countries that have struggled to create political consensus to control guns. I deeply regret the shock and hurt the announcement of the film has caused throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Ardern also criticized the project, insisting she had no involvement or no knowledge of the movie before it was announced, only being told about it at the last minute.
“In my view, which is a personal view, it feels very soon and very raw for New Zealand,” she told local media TVNZ.
“While there are so many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them. They’re the community’s stories, they’re the families stories.”
The horrific attack on March 15, 2019 saw 51 Muslims get killed while they prayed at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre. Many more were seriously injured.
Actress Byrne recently spoke about playing Ardern in the much-talked about movie. See what she had to say below.
— ET Canada (@ETCanada) June 11, 2021