Nia DaCosta at a screening of The Marvels

‘The Hollywood Reporter’ Really Needs To Leave ‘The Marvels’ Director Nia DaCosta Alone

The Hollywood Reporter has published an article about The Marvels director Nia DaCosta with a misleading headline that could impact her reputation, further proving that the media needs to leave DaCosta alone.

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This isn’t the first time that misinformation surrounding DaCosta has gained traction. Prior to the film’s release, DaCosta was forced to explain why she departed The Marvels before its completion. Variety‘s exposé on Marvel had included a comment from a source directed at DaCosta: “If you’re directing a $250 million movie, it’s kind of weird for the director to leave with a few months to go.”

Hence, DaCosta received some scrutiny, as there was an implication that she abandoned the project or did something highly unusual. However, she explained that The Marvels’ delays turned the two-year project she had committed to into a four-year one. Meanwhile, the studio was well aware she had another film greenlit that she had to begin working on.

There really wasn’t anything to her departure from the project, but for an insider to try to make something of it with that misleading comment was concerning. It almost seemed Marvel wanted to manufacture a story that some of The Marvels’ shortcomings were due to DaCosta leaving the project early. Now that the film is out, the narrative hasn’t been much better. The media has been hyper-fixated on its box office earnings and desperate to call the film a failure. Very few media outlets have highlighted that DaCosta is the first Black woman and youngest director to ever helm a Marvel film, or that The Marvels’ box office opening was the highest ever for a film by a Black woman.

Needless to say, the treatment of The Marvels and DaCosta has not been very fair. Then, THR had to take it a step further.

THR publishes misleading headline targeting Nia DaCosta

Nia DaCosta at The Marvels Reception and Special Screening
(Denise Truscello/Getty)

On November 20, THR published an article with a sensationalized headline: “Why ‘Marvels’ Director Nia DaCosta Bailed on the Cast-and-Crew Screening.” Of course, anyone scrolling through the internet who sees this headline will feel indignant. How could The Marvels’ director “bail” on her cast and crew during one of the biggest screenings? Meanwhile, the subtitle digs a little deeper, reading, “The cast had a good excuse for missing the event, but what about the helmer?” Given that the screening was on November 8, the cast couldn’t attend due to the SAG-AFTRA strike still being hours away from concluding. However, THR seems to be implying DaCosta didn’t have a “good excuse.”

She did have an excuse, though, and she did not “bail” on The Marvels’ cast and crew. Readers must scroll past two inciting paragraphs describing how DaCosta “opted to ditch the cast-and-crew screening for a birthday party instead—for herself” to get the true story. The THR finally gets around to including a comment from DaCosta’s rep that states the director was never even invited to the screening. She only learned it was happening when she invited some of the crew to her birthday party, and they informed her of it.

So, DaCosta suffered a massive injustice from Marvel, who chose not to invite The Marvels’ own director to the cast-and-crew screening. Then, the THR had to take this injustice and twist it around to paint DaCosta as the director who allegedly “bailed” on the cast and crew because she was too busy celebrating her birthday. Anyone who only reads the headline, subtitle, and first two paragraphs will be left fuming at how DaCosta treated her own project. Fortunately, many readers did read the full article and are appalled at THR‘s misleading framing of events.

This isn’t THR’s first offense

It’s difficult to explain this misleading article as anything other than an attempt to hurt DaCosta’s reputation. There was no need to sensationalize the story. A director wasn’t invited to her film’s major screening—that’s already sensational! That’s the story that readers need to know, and that should stir feelings of anger and outrage. However, THR saw an opportunity to potentially get readers thinking DaCosta did something egregious and ran with it. It almost seems there is a broader plan here for Marvel and Disney to scapegoat DaCosta for The Marvels, and THR is helping. Or is it just that DaCosta is a Black woman, and that alone makes the media want to construct a false narrative painting her as a poor director?

This isn’t the first time THR has targeted Black directors and actors. It previously lumped Letitia Wright and Will Smith with Brad Pitt, who has been accused of domestic abuse, and a number of other abusive and problematic men in Hollywood. The article claimed that Smith’s Oscars slap and Wright’s alleged anti-vax sentiments (which she has denied) make them equivalent to some of the most notorious men in Hollywood, who have never faced consequences or taken accountability for their actions. THR also plagiarized and published a highly racist tirade against director Ava DuVernay. Though the outlet later apologized for the plagiarism, it did not apologize for spreading racism against DuVernay.

Even after facing backlash, THR has not rephrased its headline about DaCosta. It’s important that readers remember that DaCosta did a tremendous job on The Marvels and also made history. Meanwhile, the media needs to help fix the narrative. DaCosta didn’t abandon the project and bail on the cast and crew. She stuck with a project that demanded more of her time than she initially signed on to and has been front and center at the screenings she was invited to, despite Marvel’s alleged disrespect for her. Women and BIPOC individuals should be able to enjoy their achievements without facing the media’s relentless attempts to tear them down and minimize their contributions.

(featured image: Jesse Grant/Getty)


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Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.