On iammajor.me, fans can upload photos and write their own text to create a movie ad that reads “I am Major” along the bottom.
Major is the name of the film’s lead character, who is played by Scarlett Johansson, despite the fact that the character is supposed to be Japanese.
According to NextShark, the ad campaign was promoted over the weekend with a 30-second clip of Johansson in character, saying: “I am hunted. I am the hunter. I am fearless. I am coming for them. I am Major.”
It’s clear the ad was meant to be empowering, as some examples of written text for the meme include “I am fearless” and “I am a leader in my community.” Despite this, the marketing scheme completely backfired when viewers decided to use it to troll the film instead.
In the user-created memes, many called out the film, the studio and Johansson herself for contributing to the whitewashing problem in Hollywood.
— VzA (@ValerieComplex) March 11, 2017
— Tiffany Diane (@tiffanydian) March 14, 2017
— A.K. (@adrienne_kt) March 13, 2017
— John Wusah (@JohnWusah) March 14, 2017
Many also used the meme generator to criticize Johansson’s previous response to the whitewashing controversy, which was that she took the role as a feminist move.
— Edwin Peng (@EdwinPeng88) March 14, 2017
— Shabeelnaagood (@4iizumi) March 14, 2017
Some also created memes to fire back at other white actors who took roles away from Asians, including the late Mickey Rooney, who portrayed an Asian man in “Breakfast at Tiffany's,” Emma Stone, who played an Asian-American woman in “Aloha,” and Matt Damon, who was portrayed as a white saviour in “The Great Wall.”
— ClintTheCattyCritic (@Cinemacreep) March 1
— KaMara Brown (@keepitkreativ) March 12, 2017
— ❄️Ellen Oh❄️ (@ElloEllenOh) March 14, 2017
— Zwei (@ZweiXross) March 12, 2017
— オーウェン (@riajuunibyou) March 14, 2017
But perhaps the saddest meme created was one that pictured a young Asian girl. “I am still waiting to see myself as the hero,” it reads.
— Jenn Chien (@ChienJenn) March 13, 2017
With so much backlash over whitewashed films, it's time for Hollywood to finally wake up and realize that representation does matter.