Ahead of its release in theaters and on HBO Max this summer, the upcoming sequel Space Jam 2 is at the center of yet another controversy. Serving as a direct sequel to 1996’s Space Jam, the new movie stars LeBron James as himself alongside the animated characters from Looney Tunes. Now, due to a recent controversial tweet posted by the NBA star, there are calls on social media to boycott Space Jam 2.
The controversy stems from a recent tweet posted by James after a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed a 16-year-old girl wielding a knife. In LeBron’s tweet, which has since been deleted, the basketball player posted an image of the officer and wrote, “YOU’RE NEXT.” The post was met with backlash, and James clarified his state of mind in a follow-up tweet.
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” LeBron James said. “I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Whatever the case might be, the publicity has resulted in a group of people boycotting Space Jam: A New Legacy. At the head of the movement is alt-right internet personality Jack Posobiec, who said in a tweet: “Boycott Space Jam. Lebron threatens police.” The tweet has seen many others on Twitter following suit, such as one person who wrote, “LeBron James needs to be sent a message. Boycott his upcoming Space Jam film.”
“King James’ hate for America runs so deep. We should boycott Space Jam 2,” another boycotter says. Another tweet reads: “Time to Boycott LeBron ‘King’ James, Space Jam 2, and Warner Brothers. You don’t threaten police officers especially when they just saved someone from being stabbed.”
Still, not everyone is buying into the notion to boycott Space Jam 2, and the movement to do so has garnered plenty of criticism of its own. Finding that the tweets just made him want to watch the movie even more, one person tweeted: “Just you saying boycott space jam has motivated me to want to watch it. Thanks for the AD.”
“Two facts: Most people that would “boycott Space Jam” weren’t going to see it anyway. The people who bitch and moan about cancel culture the most are the people that encourage it the most,” says someone else.
This isn’t the first controversy to befall Space Jam: A New Legacy. Last month, it was revealed that Pepe Le Pew had been completely scrubbed from the sequel even though a scene had previously been filmed to include the character. The decision was met with tremendous backlas, and that only increased after a recent trailer featured a cameo of the droogs, a violent gang known for the horrific murders and sexual assault of their victims in A Clockwork Orange.
Other fans have also expressed their displeasure in the new design of Lola Bunny, whose appearance was a bit less family-friendly in the first Space Jam. Some say that there’s no need to change the design of the cartoon bunny and doing so creates a disconnect from the first movie. Director Malcolm D. Lee has explained that the change was made because he didn’t want the character to be “sexualized.”
There might be a portion of people on Twitter refusing to watch the movie, but for everyone else who’s interested in seeing it, Space Jam: A New Legacy is scheduled to be released in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16, 2021.