BBC News

Neighborhood Watch trailer scrapped after shooting

By Emma Brant
Newsbeat reporter

Published
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Adverts for the new Ben Stiller film Neighborhood Watch have been pulled in the US over fears they are insensitive.

It comes after the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, last month.

He was killed by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who said he was acting in "self defence" after the 17-year-old looked "suspicious".

Twentieth Century Fox has withdrawn its ads, saying the film was made "before this incident ever came to light".

It was feared that one scene in particular could be misconstrued.

It showed actor Jonah Hill making a gun gesture with his fingers, then pretending to shoot at a suburban neighbourhood, where children were playing in their gardens.

In a statement, the film studio said: "The trailers and posters have been pulled from Florida theatres and will soon be phased out nationally".

image copyrightReuters
image captionProtesters call for justice over shooting of Trayvon Martin

The shooting happened on 26 February in a gated community in Sanford, Florida.

At the time, thousands of people took to the streets in support of Trayvon's parents, who are calling for George Zimmerman's arrest and prosecution.

In a statement Fox said: "The story bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida," and that it was "very sensitive to the Trayvon Martin case."

"Above all else, our thoughts go out to the families touched by this terrible event," it added.

The movie stars Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn as suburban dads who become neighbourhood watch volunteers and eventually battle aliens.

The film, which also features The IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade, is set for release in July.