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‘Assassination Nation’ Ads Got Blocked From YouTube and More Because of Gun Footage, Character Flashing Her Bra

“We’re making a movie about strong young women," Neon's Christian Parkes told Variety. "People feel threatened because it is honest."

"Assassination Nation"

“Assassination Nation”

Sundance Film Festival

Assassination Nation,” the Sundance hit from writer-director Sam Levinson, opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, September 21, but marketing the movie over the last several months hasn’t been the easiest road for co-distributor Neon. Christian Parkes, the company’s chief marketing officer, revealed in an interview with Variety that Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all rejected a cut of the film’s trailer.

Neon told Variety the intended clip for the movie violated the social media platforms’ terms of use for two reasons: One scene featured a group of women pointing guns directly at the camera, while another scene featured a woman pulling up her shirt and flashing her bar to the camera. The latter scene featured no female nudity whatsoever. Parkes said Neon was informed that trailers could show characters in their underwear but not the physical act of undressing. Similarly, guns were allowed to be featured but not if they were pointing directly at the camera.

“We’re not depicting a sanitized world,” Parkes said. “We’re making a movie about strong young women. People feel threatened because it is honest.”

Neon ran into similar issues trying to market the movie with more traditional methods such as billboard advertisements. The company was not allowed to rent billboard space in Los Angeles for a poster that included the tagline “Ass Ass In Nation.” Parkes said “every single out-of-home vendor in Los Angeles” passed on the ad because they thought it was a political ad calling for violence or found the word “ass” offensive.

“We knew that this film was a stick of dynamite,” Parkes said. “We didn’t want to dress it up into something it isn’t. This isn’t a feel-good coming-of-age story. It’s a depressing meditation on where we are as a culture.”

The marketing roadblocks forced Neon to get more creative. The company partnered with clothing brands like Dolls Kill and Pleasures to make shirts, socks, and more inspired by the film. “Assassination Nation” centers around a group of high school girl friends who get blamed for leaking everyone’s private information across social media. The leak sends the town into a violent riot.

“Assassination Nation” opens September 21. Head over to Variety to read more about the film’s marketing.

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