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Warner Bros. Apologizes to Japanese Fans for ‘Barbenheimer’ Memes

Warner Bros. Apologizes to Japanese Fans for ‘Barbenheimer’ Memes

Barbie is facing some unexpected backlash, all because of a meme.

As the film prepares to make its much-anticipated debut in Japan on August 11, it finds itself at the center of a controversy over memes that have sparked outrage among Japanese fans.

The Twitter account for Barbie in Japan recently issued an apology to the Japanese people for engaging with “Barbenheimer” memes, which have gone viral on social media platforms. “Barbenheimer” has been the Internet’s playful way to discuss the double-release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, a film depicting the creation of the atomic bombs that devastated Japan during World War II.

However, the connection between the two movies, while unintentional, became a source of concern and upset for many Japanese fans.

A letter in Japanese, signed by Warner Bros. Pictures of Japan and posted by the official Barbie in Japan account, shed some light on the situation. The letter clarified that the “Barbenheimer” meme was not an official or sanctioned creation of the studio and acknowledged the inconsiderate reaction of Barbie’s Western social media accounts to fans’ posts related to the meme.

“We consider it extremely regrettable that the official account of the American headquarters for the movie ‘Barbie’ reacted to the social media postings of ‘Barbenheimer’ fans,” Warner Bros. Japan wrote. “We take this situation very seriously. We are asking the U.S. headquarters to take appropriate action. We apologize to those who were offended by this series of inconsiderate reactions.”

Upon posting the letter, the U.S. Barbie movie account has appeared to remove “Barbenheimer” related tweets, and Warner Bros. Film Group in the U.S. has made a public apology.

“Warner Brothers regrets its recent insensitive social media engagement,” the company said. “The studio offers a sincere apology.”

Japanese fans, who are particularly sensitive to the historical context of the atomic bombings, expressed their disappointment and outrage over the meme and the initial response from the Barbie social media accounts. The upcoming release of Barbie in Japan is particularly poignant, as it falls just two days after the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Additionally, at this time there are no plans for a Japanese release date of Oppenheimer.

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