It’s been more than 10 years since Universal released Couples Retreat, a largely forgettable step on Vince Vaughn’s descent into the swamp of romantic comedy blandness. In fact, the most truly n0table thing about the film—then and now, as it turns out—was its marketing, and, specifically, its international poster, which reportedly cut c0-stars Faizon Love and Kali Hawk (the only non-white people in the film’s starring cast) from their spot (which was already in the background of the whole thing, anyway). There’s nothing new about this—people pointed it out and got pissed about it at the time—though, so why are we talking about it now? Well, because Love has decided that, after 11 years of being told that Universal would make this upsetting slight right, the deadline has now passed, and he’s suing the studio over the decade-old poster.
This is per THR, which reports that Love is suing the studio on charges of “breach of contract and fraudulent inducement” over his removal from the poster, and subsequent alleged breaking of promises that were apparently made (including, reportedly, from Vaughn) to get him to drop the issue. Here’s the most relevant bit from the lawsuit:
Universal Studios, ...attempting to assuage Mr. Love and prevent his filing suit, promised both (i) the immediate cessation of the racist international poster, and (ii) prompt recompense to Mr. Love in the form of lucrative, career-making film roles. Universal Studios lied.
Among other things, Love’s lawsuit alleges that Vaughn was involved in at least some of his calls with executives, allegedly committed to making a TV show with him, and “apparently went so far as to tell Mr. Love that making a big deal about his removal from the poster would not be good for his career at that time.”
It’s not entirely clear why Love has decided to bring his lawsuit at this time, meanwhile, beyond a general erosion of patience with the entire system. (It’s not like problems with representations in posters have gone away; John Boyega mysteriously disappeared from Chinese posters for The Force Awakens, while Marvel came under criticism for not including Danai Gurira in the poster for Avengers: Endgame.) Although he worked as recently as this year’s The War With Grandpa, Couples Retreat is one of the more high-billed credits in Love’s career; meanwhile, he also gained national prominence in the mid-2010s with a number of profanity-laced defenses of Bill Cosby on Twitter, so, yeah: There’s also that.