Despite premiering months ago, France’s Defense Minister is now upset over the way the film plays out, including a “false and misleading representation,” of French troops in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
On February 11th, a French journalist who had seen the film wrote about the similarities between the uniforms of the mercenaries trying to steal the natural resources of Wakanda in the film, and the uniforms the French wore while serving in Mali for almost 10 years. French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu on Sunday tweeted his views on the film.
“I strongly condemn this false and misleading representation of our Armed Forces.” He also tweeted the journalist directly about the film. “I think of and pay tribute to the 58 French soldiers who died defending Mali at its request against Islamist terrorist groups.”
He didn’t just stop at tweeting about the issue with representation. He also has a spokesperson speak via phone with CNN on February 13th.
“While all the other elements of the film are fictional names and places there is a clear designation of France. The French military is painted as being involved in pillage of resources of the country and of course, that is unacceptable. We are not asking the studio to remove the movie or anything, on the other hand, it is the role of the minister to defend the French military who were engaged in Mali to defend the country against terrorist groups.”
As shocking as it is that it took this long for anyone to bring this to the attention of the French leadership, it’s even more shocking in 2023 to hear France just rolling with the punches. Having your entire country used as the whipping boy in an already racially charged movie is difficult. Taking it and simply speaking out about it and not demanding change is unheard of.