Long time actor/comedian Faizon Love is suing Universal Studios for racial discrimination as it relates to the 2009 hit comedy Couples Retreat. Variety reports Faizon and his lawyers say Universal Studios and the film’s producers are guilty of fraud, breach of contract, and violations of civil rights law. They also believe Universal is in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
In his statement Faizon Love said…
“This film was a big money-maker for Universal, but instead of honoring my work and my contract, the studio chose to render me invisible to billions of moviegoers.”
Court documents detail how Faizon Love and his black co-star, Kali Hawk, were literally left out of international promotions for the film. Evidently Universal Studios used one poster for the film domestically including Faizon and Kali, but distributed a different poster internationally that made no mention of them whatsoever. The poster didn’t even mention their names, while all other couples were included.
Here’s some of Faizon’s proof – the two posters side by side:
As you can see, the international poster is completely whitewashed. Even Universal’s domestic poster has Faizon and Kali the farthest from view.
Faizon says he brought the issue up from the start, but instead of getting answers he got handled by the studio. He says the film’s producer, Scott Stuber, called with apologies, and Universal Studios Chairman at the time, Adam Fogelson, told Faizon Love he would be receiving more work and opportunities in the future if he let this thing go. However, now it’s 11 years later, and Faizon is still in a holding pattern. What’s worse, those posters are still in circulation.
Faizon Love also made a charge at the film’s star, Vince Vaughn. The suit alleges Vaughn ran interference for the studio saying he “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 the time.” Of course Vince Vaughn would’ve been a powerful voice of influence for Faizon Love when Couples Retreat was released.
You may remember Faizon Love from his memorable role as “Big Worm” in the 90’s cult classic film Friday. Like any actor, Faizon probably saw Couples Retreat as a great opportunity to grow his career, but it seems Universal Studios refuses to say his name, even to this day.
Until the next time it drips….