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An Italian distributor for awards-season favorite 12 Years a Slave had a lot of explaining to do after releasing posters focused on Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender – as opposed to the film’s real star, Chiwetel Ejiofor.

According to Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate, the racially-amended ads were not authorized or approved by the movie’s producers and licensors. In a statement, the companies said they are “investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled.”

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In light of the controversy, BIM Distribuzione issued an apology and admitted the ads were “inconsistent” with the film’s approved materials.

“We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for 12 Years A Slave in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused,” the statement read.

According to E! Online, the movie premiered at the 18th Capri Hollywood Film Festival in Italy today, Dec. 27, but no cast members attended the event.

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, which follows the real-life story of a free Black man sold into slavery in the 1841, is nominated for seven Golden Globes, four SAG awards and five Independent Spirit awards.

MUST READ: Lupita Nyong’o Talks Breakout Role In ’12 Years A Slave’ & Adjusting To Fame

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