A Christchurch victim’s family are now urging Rose Byrne to pull out of the new controversial film about how New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dealt with the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch terror attack.
The family of victim Linda Armstrong sent Rose Byrne an open letter asking that she rethink her role as Jacinda Ardern in the film They Are Us. The horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch occurred in 2019, which was only 27 months ago and the families affected are still healing.
“It was only 27 months ago that I had to google my aunt’s name to see if she was alive or dead,” Kyron Gosse wrote on behalf of his family.
“It was only 27 months ago that I stood in her grave, lowering her lifeless body into the ground.
“Please, give us time. It was only 15 months ago that the one-year remembrance was cancelled by the onset of Covid.”
In comparison to other Hollywood movies about tragic events, They Are Us is being made ridiculously too soon. Not to mention the fact that the story centres on a white woman, sidelining the victims stories, when it should be theirs to tell.
“This story is far from over and for the families involved, we still live it every single day,” the letter continued.
“Please, give us time. Two years is far too soon to be talking about Hollywood movies. In contrast: It took 85 years to release the Titanic movie. It took 16 years to release a 9/11 movie. It took six years to release the Deepwater Horizon movie.”
Ayay Al-Umari, whose brother was killed in the Christchurch attack, also condemned the film for being insensitive to victims.
“I don’t think this film will be received well in New Zealand. My guess is it’s Hollywood over-capitalising this,” Al-Umari told AAP.
The wider NZ community are also outraged that a film about such a horrific tragedy was even given the green light. A petition launched on Friday night urging for the project to be cancelled has already been signed by more than 40,000 people.
“You do not get to tell this story,” Auckland-raised journalist Mohamed Hassan said on Twitter.
“You do not get to turn this into a White Saviour narrative.”
You do not get to tell this story.
You do not get to turn this into a White Saviour narrative.
This is not yours.
This pain is still fresh and real.
This is upsetting, obscene and grotesque. I am tired. https://t.co/WqyIbBWQ8p
— Mohamed Hassan (@mohamedwashere) June 10, 2021
Jacinda Ardern released a statement on Friday saying that she has no involvement in the film.