Media Bias

Incurious Media Ignore Amy Schumer’s Toxic Brand

So Hollywood’s preeminent feminist won’t be playing Barbie on the big screen after all.

We recently learned comedienne Amy Schumer decided against starring in the film version of the beloved Mattel toy.

Why? Scheduling conflicts, according to Variety which broke the news.

“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” the actress said in a statement to Variety. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

Entertainment Weekly ran with that explanation. So did Deadline.com. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Wait.

Why would the “It” comic of the moment quit a gig that could magnify her thoughts on being female in the 21st century? The project, according to media reports, focuses not on those unattainable Barbie curves but on a feminist twist on the brand.

She agreed to the project months ago and helped spit-polish the script. Clearly, the brand and its potential mean something to her.

Now she’s out. Does that make sense? It’s the kind of story that demands a second-day follow up. Only that never happened.

Why?

Brand Protection 101

The press protects Schumer. She’s an outspoken liberal who puts her time and money behind progressive causes. That means reporters would be less than eager to ask the kind of questions that should be explored given the Barbie switcheroo.

Like:

  • Is Schumer’s brand too toxic now for a mainstream project?
  • Does her aggressively sexual shtick conflict with a family-friendly franchise?
  • Did Schumer calling Trump voters KKK members hurt her perceived box office clout?
  • Who made the final call on Schumer leaving the project? The actress … or Team Mattel?

You know who asked some of those questions following the announcement? Readers of the very sites listed above. Here’s a sample from the Variety comments section:

In the first place, why hire a “comedian” who isn’t funny and who is such a partisan fanatic that she insults half the country with her constant political preaching? Is it because Amy Schumer has blond hair?

She didn’t “drop out”. She was likely let go because the movie execs foresaw that the movie would BOMB if they kept the Leftist Fascist Schumer as part of the cast.

Mattel was not going to have their crown jewel tarnished. Imagine someone editing the Barbie trailer with clips of Schumer’s stand up special with her talking about her vagina stinking.

This reader comment from the incurious Deadline.com article put it even better:

Does anybody believe this? Stupid casting to begin with, but producers have no doubt watched Schumer become one of Hollywood’s most hated people in the eyes of the American public.
Her Netflix thing was unwatchable, her cable show’s not coming back, she’s got a reputation as a joke thief, and even her ad campaign for Bud Light drove down sales so badly they cancelled it early. Once she was a breath of fresh air, but now people are repelled by Amy Schumer. Count me among them, and I watched every episode of her TV show.

These aren’t journalists whose job it is to cover Hollywood. They’re just movie goers who understand the big picture. They also have a sensible skepticism toward news peddled by a celebrity.

You know, like the kind reporters are supposed to have.

If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Consider comments by Mattel COO Richard Dickson about the brand’s move into the film space. The company has film projects involving both Barbie and Hot Wheels in motion. It’s clearly a major effort, one with millions (billions?) at stake.

Here’s Dickson outlining the move to the Associated Press:

Kids today can obviously skip commercials. And screen time today is not one screen, it’s multiple screens. Our objective is to be everywhere our consumers are. They are on their phone. They are on their laptop. They’re on their iPad. They’re on their television. There is no center.

Pretty smart.

Now, would Mattel really want the woman who frontlined “Amy Schumer: The Leather Special” to be its Barbie?

The new, widely panned stand-up special is as coarse as any comedy routine around.The first half of the routine involves Schumer’s painstakingly detailing her sex life.

Might that conflict with the Barbie brand a wee bit? What about her attacks on the Second Amendment and its proponents?

RELATED: 12 Hillary Clinton Facts Amy Schumer Should Know

Conversely, what if Schumer’s next film project is a smash? “Snatched,” co-starring Goldie Hawn, hits theaters May 12. Wouldn’t Mattel fight to keep Schumer on board if that movie was a smash? Or tracking as such?

Snatched Offficial Trailer 1 (2017) - Amy Schumer Movie

Perhaps the opposite is true … and Mattel acted proactively to install another star in the feature?

Heck, Mattel might be sorry to see Schumer go, not realizing just how toxic her brand is to many movie goers.

Let’s not forget the other partner in the Barbie movie project: Sony. That studio put all its chips behind the “Ghostbusters” reboot last year. The film got entangled in the culture wars, and no one from the studio appeared eager to stop it.

Sony movie executive Tom Rothman personally gloated over it, in fact. What happened? “Ghostbusters” underperformed to the tune of a $70 million loss.

Free Speech. Free Consequences

Schumer can say what she wants. She can turn her comedy specials into quasi-gynecological exams. She can lay waste to roughly half of America with her political rants.

And her career might survive, even thrive, as a result.

Or audiences could see her as a divisive figure best left for niche projects. Not a movie based on a nearly 60-year-old brand.

Maybe the whole kerfuffle was all about scheduling. It’s possible. Ignoring the other elements of the story simply doesn’t make sense, though.

Schumer has sculpted her fame and public image to her liking. That may have consequences, for better or worse. Shouldn’t the media at the very least acknowledge that fact?

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37 Comments

    1. Two questions: first, would you remember the next day? Second, would you want to remember the next day?

      Also, is it just me, or did Goldie Hawn look terrible in that trailer? Too much plastic surgery…

  1. When I first saw Schumer I though her charming and entertaining, and actually funny. She made fun of herself and her modest looks. She brought us to her side for both a laugh with her and ourselves.
    Then she got too full of herself and ceased to be funny or insightful. Same result as with Kathy Griffin and Whoopi, they no longer brought us to their side, but instead repelled us. Has-beens now.

    1. She killed six years ago at the Comedy Central roast of Charlie Sheen. Amazing. Lately, not so much. To much politics for politics’ sake and crude genitalia humor.

  2. Scheduling conflict?

    In the future?

    Isn’t that why you make schedules in the first place? So there’s no “conflicts.”

    Normal people call that priorities.

    She obviously had other priorities, for which she changed her schedule to meet.

    BTW, B.S. is now selling at half it’s normal price on the left. Because it’s all they got, Everyone has it. And people can tell the difference.

    1. Since IMDB.com has nothing on her bio page after 2017, and those movies are “post-production,” I’ve gotta call BS on the “scheduling” excuse.

    2. “Scheduling conflict” is the Hollywood equivalent of “resigning to spend more time with my family” for disgraced politicians.

  3. Maybe someone at Mattel was one of the kids traumatized by Mike Meyer’s Cat in the Hat and had a flashback thinking about Amy Schumer as Barbie.

  4. I bet you anything she is replaced with someone like Drew Barrymore or Cameron Diaz. She didn’t quit. They want someone hotter.

  5. No offense, but any woman “comedian” that jokes about her underwear looking like she blew her nose in it, is not funny. Then again, no female comedians are funny. Not since Joan Rivers, anyway.

  6. It was always a terrible idea, I can’t imagine what any of them were thinking, so yay that it’s off the table. Aging skank with god knows how many abortions and god knows what STDs would ruin the Barbie brand forever. I loved Train Wreck and I probably will see Snatched, it looks funny enough. But Barbie? Somebody should be fired for even having that idea.

  7. Considering that the announcement came right after Disney’s huge “Beauty and the Beast” opening weekend, I’m going to guess that they figured they needed someone who could portray a modern Barbie with a lot more charm and subtlety.

    Parents eagerly paid to take their kids to see Emma Watson’s Belle – would they be just as eager to take their family to see Schumer’s Trainwreck version of Barbie?

  8. I won’t watch anything w/Schumer in it. It’s that simple. She’s a nasty discusting individual whom the MSM adores and refuses to cover with honesty. Her “special” was terrible. I was only able to watch about 10 min of…and I’ll never get those 10 min back, ever.

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