Twentieth Century Fox says it is genuinely sorry for crafting fake news sites and stories to promote its psychological thriller A Cure for Wellness.
“In raising awareness for our films, we do our best to push the boundaries of traditional marketing in order to creatively express our message to consumers,” a spokesperson for the studio said in a statement Thursday. “In this case, we got it wrong.”
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed broke the news that Fox partnered with a network of fake news sites to publish made-up stories about everything from Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance to a (fabricated) meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at a Swiss health spa. Some of the stories seemed to directly reference A Cure for Wellness, while others were much more tangential.
Responding to criticism, Fox and producer New Regency initially defended the stunt, explaining that “A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker.”
But Thursday’s statement said, “The digital campaign was inappropriate on every level, especially given the trust we work to build every day with our consumers. We have reviewed our internal approval process and made appropriate changes to ensure that every part of a campaign is elevated to and vetted by management in order to avoid this type of mistake in the future. We sincerely apologize.”
A Cure for Wellness opens Friday.