The trailer for “Punishment” has become a viral sensation in the last few days.
The film is based on the comic book series and follows Punisher (guest star Paul Bettany) as he tries to track down a serial killer, who is responsible for killing a large number of young African Americans in New Orleans.
The trailer also includes footage from the film.
The movie is set to hit theaters May 24.
The backlash has been swift.
One person on Twitter wrote: “Not a racist, just a guy who wants to do his job and be an effective law enforcement officer.
No offense to white people, but there are people out there who don’t know who Punisher is.
That’s just one example of the kinds of things that make up a very small subset of the general population,” while another added: “I’m not a fan of the character, but it’s really important that he’s an accurate portrayal of what he is.”
The actor who plays Punisher has also been targeted for being white.
On Friday, actor Matt Smith tweeted, “I have zero sympathy for black people who are killed by the police because of a lack of self-respect.
He followed up by saying he would not have killed “Punk” in the first place, and that he had “no respect for the police.”
Smith also tweeted that “Punch” was not his character, adding that he felt he had a right to defend himself.
Smith said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine that he was inspired to direct the film after he and his wife went to the New York City Police Department to film a performance of the song “I Can’t Get Enough.”
The couple said that they were told that “a few black officers” had complained about the video.
Smith was initially offered the part, but he declined the part.
“I don’t think it’s racist, but the way that it was portrayed in the movie was not what the film was supposed to portray,” he told Rolling Stone.
“And if I could take that one moment to acknowledge it and apologize to those people and make amends, I would.”