Brad Pitt is drawing serious criticism for appearing in a commercial for French bank Boursorama, which is currently being sued for refusing to accept American-born customers. In the ad, Pitt is seen walking around New York City while using various Boursorama services and speaking to the camera. But the catch is we cannot hear his audio at all. At the end, a voiceover says in French, “We do not need Brad Pitt to recommend Boursorama Bank because no one does it better than our customers." The bank reportedly paid Pitt $6 million for the ad.
The controversy stems from Boursorama being one of several French banks being sued by a group called l'Association des Américains Accidentels (the Accidental Americans Association) for discrimination. The group consists of nearly 1,000 people who have French and American citizenship as a result of being born in the States. They have no other connection to the US and consider themselves French -- many don't even speak English. All of them are unable to open accounts with Boursorama because of this.
"I find it regrettable that Brad Pitt has agreed to represent Boursorama because it is a bank that discriminates against U.S. people," The group’s president Fabien Lehagre told TooFab. "The Accidental Americans Association filed a complaint 6 months ago against this bank."
Lehagre said the bank "justifies its refusal to open accounts to people of American nationality because of the costs of managing such clients would be too high,” but points out that they still could afford millions for Pitt.
There’s been some outrage on social media about the commercial.
“Care to explain to the shareholders of @Boursorama why your ad shows #BradPitt, an American, promoting a bank that actually bars American-born people and is being sued for doing so? Did you do your research?,” one person wrote.
“This from a bank which refuses to open accounts for 'accidental americans.’ Come on #BradPitt. I love U but you could do better,” another said.0comments
The banks have argued that the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is what has forced them to refuse American citizens. The act requires foreign banks to provide financial information to the US for their American customers. This causes major headaches and expenses for the banks. In July, the president of the French Banking Association warned that all of the 40,000 exiting bank accounts connected to U.S. citizens may need to be closed due to issues with FATCA.
Pitt has been in the news a lot recently. Last week, it was discovered that him and Angelina Jolie still haven't finalized their divorce because of a real estate dispute. And on Saturday, a new Fight Club DVD featuring an interview with Pitt revealed how furious he was with Rosie O'Donnell for spoiling the movie's ending on her talk show.