Director and cast of all-female Ghostbusters catch hell
AN ALL-FEMALE reboot of Ghostbusters hits theatres next month amid a savage backlash by Internet trolls that has thrown the spotlight back onto Hollywood's gender discrimination problem.
The film's first trailer has become the most reviled in YouTube history, having amassed almost 900,000 dislikes. Director Paul Feig and his cast have been bombarded with death threats and misogyny on social media.
"This garbage was made to make Feminazis happy," one Twitter user complained in a broadside typical of the firestorm of abuse.
Feig, who has made his name directing female stars in hits such as Bridesmaids was responsible for bringing on board Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig for the new version of the 32-year-old, all-male original movie.
"I've been hit with some of the worst misogynistic stuff you've ever seen in your life over the last two years," he told a recent producers' conference at Sony Pictures headquarters in southern California.
"The onslaught that came in was just so chilling."
The Woman and Hollywood blog noted a similar reaction after the producers of Star Wars cast female leads - in the latest instalment and the upcoming Rogue One - after six consecutive male-led films.
"We are struggling every day to get the word out against that bias. We still get called in the press a 'chick flick' constantly," Feig said.
"You never talk about the 'all-male Expendables'. It's an uphill battle that I can't believe in 2016 we're having to fight."
The backlash against Ghostbusters demonstrates how deeply ingrained the idea remains that big-budget, mainstream movies are "the province of males", said Martha Lauzen of San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
"Traditionally, they have featured males and been made by males, with a young male audience in mind," she noted.
"Making a reboot of one of these films with a mostly female cast violates this group's sense that this public space belongs to them," she added.