Controversial Barbenheimer Memes Draw Anger in Japan

Warner Bros. Japan said sorry after the movie’s U.S. Twitter account shared posts that seemed to make fun of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The hashtag #NoBarbenheimer has been trending on Japanese Twitter for the past few days, as people express their anger over the official U.S. Barbie account’s comments on memes that are seen as making jokes about the atomic bombings.

The @barbiethemovie account reacted positively to posts that combined scenes from the Barbie and Oppenheimer films with explosions and Barbie having her hair styled like an atomic bomb mushroom cloud.

One post showing the lead actors in front of apocalyptic flames received the comment “It’s going to be a summer to remember.” The mushroom cloud hairdo tweet had the U.S. account saying “This Ken is a stylist,” referring to Barbie’s boyfriend, played by Ryan Gosling in the film.

On Monday, Warner Bros. Japan issued an apology statement in response to the comments made by the U.S. movie account, which has garnered nearly 30 million views on Twitter.

The statement described the comments as “very regrettable” and acknowledged their lack of consideration. Warner Bros. Japan expressed that they take this situation seriously and have requested the U.S. headquarters to take appropriate measures.

Later on Monday, Warner Bros. Film Group in the U.S. issued its own apology and announced that it would take down the tweets that caused offense.

Although many Japanese Twitter users appreciated the apology, they still remained angry and upset about the original posts and comments made by the Barbie account in the U.S.

In response to the apology, Twitter user @mankodaisuki58 posted a picture of Barbie sitting on the shoulders of Osama Bin Laden in front of burning buildings, mimicking one of the original posts.

The caption read ‘visiting the places from movie scenes’ in Japanese and ‘It’s going to be a summer to remember’ in English.

@akishmz tweeted : “Summer to remember that to the Barbie film team and to Hollywood more than 200,000 death by the end of 1945 (and half a million so far) by two atrocious bombs are something they feel comfortable joking about to promote their precious summer blockbuster.”

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Kanzah Ashfaq

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