AceShowbiz - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticized a new movie based on her response to the 2019 Christchurch mosques massacre.
The politician has joined a chorus of disapproval against the Cannes virtual market package "They Are Us", in which she will be portrayed by Rose Byrne.
"In my view, which is a personal view, it feels very soon and very raw for New Zealand," Ardern told local media station TVNZ. "And while there are so many stories that should be told at some point, I don't consider mine to be one of them."
The Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, has echoed the Prime Minister's remarks, insisting movie crews will not be welcome in the city. "I'm just so outraged that they even think that this is an appropriate thing to do," she told news outlet RNZ.
And the National Islamic Youth Association has called for the movie to be scrapped, arguing the film would marginalize "the victims and survivors."
The backlash has prompted veteran producer Philippa Campbell to apologize for her involvement in the film, stating, "I have listened to the concerns raised over recent days and I have heard the strength of people's views. I now agree that the events of March 15, 2019 are too raw for film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress."
"When I was approached to work on the film I was moved by the filmmakers' vision to pay respect to the victims, their families, and those who assisted them. This was reinforced by research interviews undertaken by producer Ayman Jamal with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch. I also hoped that telling the story of swift gun control action might resonate in America and other countries that have struggled to create political consensus to control guns. I deeply regret the shock and hurt the announcement of the film has caused throughout Aotearoa New Zealand."
Over 50 people lost their lives during the massacre when white supremacist Brenton Tarrant opened fire on worshippers inside the Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Center, making it the deadliest shooting in New Zealand's modern history.