- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and author Tariq Nasheed were mocked on social media Tuesday after forwarding the idea that “racially coded messages” may be in “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

Promotional material for director Matt Reeves’ upcoming film was pulled into an online race debate because of a blue vest Mr. Nasheed associated with Mr. Mckesson.

“Does the new Planet of the Apes poster have racially coded messages? Notice the #BlackLivesMatter symbolism.Notice the ape with the blue vest,” Mr. Nasheed tweeted nearly 190,000 followers Monday.

“Given the history of rendering black people as apes, I’m offended & appalled by the lack of consciousness in Hollywood. #PlanetOfTheApes,” responded Mr. Mckesson in a tweet that was deleted soon afterward. “In associating black people w/ apes, active work is being done to perpetuate the dehumanization of black ppl in mass media.”

There is one problem: The iconic 1968 film featuring Charlton Heston also includes such attire.

Fans of the original movies and movie buffs were quick to shoot down the racial conspiracy theories.

“In which @deray unwittingly culturally appropriates the style of a chimp from #PlanetoftheApes, gets offended about it and cries racism,” YouTube star Sargon of Akkad tweeted.

“You’re outraged because they’re recreating the look of the original ape in 1968. You don’t own wearing blue vests man. Grow up,” filmmaker Robby Starbuck added with an image from the original film. “There’s some serious narcissism involved in assuming a film w/ hundreds of millions at stake would think about how they might offend Deray.”

“War for Planet of the Apes,” which stars Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson, hits North American theaters July 14.

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