The filmmakers behind the new film Beautiful Blue Eyes, which stars the late Roy Scheider as a Holocaust survivor, say that Facebook has banned them from advertising or promoting the movie as the title breaches its policy against content that “includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race.” After Breitbart News requested comment from Mark Zuckerberg and the Masters of the Universe, the company claimed the banning was “made in error.”
Rolling Stone reports that in early September, director Joshua Newton was beginning the process of promoting his new film Beautiful Blue Eyes, which marks Roy Scheider’s final performance and follows the story of an NYPD cop haunted by the murder of his family during the Holocaust, who tracks down who he believes to be the Nazi responsible for their death.
However, soon Newton received a call from Peter Ruppert, a digital media buyer for MovieFarm, the film’s distributor, who informed him that Facebook had banned the filmmakers from promoting or advertising the film on its platforms. Facebook claimed that the issue was the film’s title, which refers to the eye color of a child who dies at the hands of the Nazis in a key scene in the film.
Facebook claims that the title violated company policy against content that “includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race,” among other personal attributes. Newton himself is the son of two Holocaust survivors and was disgusted by the social media giant’s decision.
“This is the action of haters – and there are sadly many in our society – who seek to damage the film in order to trivialize the Holocaust,” Newton told Rolling Stone. “Surely, Mark Zuckerberg did not intend this to happen.”
The filmmaker appealed the decision but Facebook upheld the ban, telling Ruppert in a message: “After a requested review of your Facebook account, we confirmed it didn’t comply with our Advertising Policies or other standards.” The message continued: “You can no longer advertise using Facebook Products. This is our final decision.”
Newton commented on the decision stating: “Every decent and sane human being on this planet should be alarmed by Meta-Facebook’s ban on the advertising of a Holocaust-related film,” Newton adds. “Mark Zuckerberg has created a monster that has no oversight. It’s one thing to be flagged by an algorithm. It’s another for Meta-Facebook employees to review the flag and uphold it, knowing full well that the title is not discriminatory and that the film is Holocaust-related.”
Newton stated at the time that the was considering legal options. “Clearly, [Mark Zuckerberg] is far too busy developing his company’s presence in the metaverse,” Newton said. “Instead of focussing on virtual reality, Zuckerberg should take note of what is happening in the real world.”
However, following a request for comment from Breitbart News, the decision appears to have been reversed. A spokesperson for Facebook (now known as Meta) told Breitbart News: “We reviewed the ads and page in question and determined that the enforcement was made in error, so we lifted the restriction.”
The company did not clarify whether Newton has been made aware that this restriction has been lifted or if any previously banned ads have now been approved.
Read more at Rolling Stone here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan