Why is Smurfette missing from film posters in Israel?

The blonde-haired cartoon character has been edited out of posters for the film Smurfs: The Lost Village in some parts of Israel to avoid offending religious sensibilities


Posters for the new animated adventure Smurfs: The Lost Village have recently been distributed across Israel.  But in Bnei Brak, a predominantly-Orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv, a special version of the poster is on display.

There are around 100 Smurfs characters, but only one female Smurf is known to exist – a blue-skinned, blonde-haired creature called Smurfette. On most examples of the poster for the new film Smurfette appears, alongside her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty.

On the version of the poster produced for strictly-Orthodox areas, only Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty can be seen.

The regional distributor for Sony Pictures Animation, Forum Films, have said that it was standard practice to remove images of female characters from film posters where they might offend religious sensibilities but that the content of the film itself would remain unchanged.

This is by no means the first time that a film poster has been tweaked for display in majority-Orthodox areas. For example, posters for the 2015 science-fiction adventure The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 which featured Jennifer Lawrence as warrior woman Katniss Everdeen, were replaced in some parts of Israel with a more abstract image.

Israeli film distributors will face a similar challenge when Wonder Woman, starring home-grown star Gal Gadot opens at the beginning of June.

However the Smurfs poster is newsworthy because it’s the first example of a non-human female character being excised from a poster.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is released in Israel on March 30.

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