A poster for the upcoming film “Coco Avant Chanel,” starring Audrey Tautou as the late fashion icon, has sparked controversy in France thanks to the presence of a lit cigarette.
The poster pictures Tautou in character holding the cigarette while relaxing in bed in stylish black-and-white pajamas.
Though Chanel was famous for her notorious cigarette habit – she was rarely photographed without one in hand — the poster interferes with France’s laws prohibiting the depiction of smoking in advertisements.
According to the UK’s Telegraph, the posters were removed from French buses and trains by the transport authority because they were, “unhealthy and inappropriate.”
“Cigarettes are banned on our entire transport system, and there is no reason why we should be giving them free advertising through this film poster,” a spokesman for Metrobus, the company in charge of transportation advertising, told the newspaper.
They have since been replaced by a second poster picturing Tautou and a co-star embracing.
However, Claude Evin, the man behind the 1991 law spoke out to defend the poster, stating that the ban should not be applied to “cultural heritage.”
And the country’s health minister, Roselyne Bachelot, admitted as much, adding, “We’re getting pretty ridiculous with this.”
The film follows Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel as she goes from being a poor orphan to the runway success that transformed women’s fashion, and will be released in France this week.