"The Artist" star Jean Dujardin's new movie ad causes stir in France

This undated handout photo provided by MarsFilm.com shows the movie poster for "Les Infideles" featuring Jean Dujardin framed by a woman's bare legs. Posters are being taken down following a recommendation from France's self-regulating advertising body. The ads have been the talk of the French press since they appeared, with some newspapers suggesting that they could cost Jean Dujardin, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the silent hit film "The Artist," his Oscar. (AP Photo/MarsFilm.com/HO) EDITORIAL USE ONLY MarsFilm.com

A movie poster for "Les Infideles" featuring "The Artist" star Jean Dujardin.
AP/MarsFilm.com

(CBS/AP) Jean Dujardin earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a silent film star in "The Artist," but he's getting a different kind of attention over ads for his newest movie.

Posters for "Les Infideles" ("The Players") have caused a stir in the actor's native France, and are being taken down Friday following a request from the country's advertising standards authority.

One of the ads shows Dujardin holding a woman's bare legs. The tagline above him, translated into English, says, "I'm going to a meeting."

In another, the back of a woman's head is waist high to actor Gilles Lellouche, who is on his cell phone. Her hands stretch up to his chest and a quotation over his head reads: "It's going to cut off. I'm going into a tunnel."

"We could see that this campaign didn't respect (the rules) with the sexually explicit positions, the play on words ... the boundaries were crossed," said Stephane Martin, the head of the Authority of Professional Regulation of Advertising (ARPP).

Martin also said the posters, which went up Monday, "propagate an image of women that damages their dignity," according to BBC News. The ARPP reportedly received several complaints from members of the public who found the billboards offensive.

JC Decaux, the outdoor advertising company that hung the posters, conceded they weren't in "good taste" and they would all be down by the end of the day. They have been replaced by a third poster, where the male leads sit and laugh as two sexily clad women walk away.

Some French newspapers are questioning whether the controversy will hurt Dujardin's Oscar campaign.

Le Parisien wrote, "America doesn't kid at all with these kind of dirty photos."

Another paper, L'Express, said that the poster flap comes as Dujardin is "in the final stretch" leading up to the Academy Awards, when, like in a political race, "everyone is ready to exploit any weakness" of their opponents.

Le Figaro suggested that those promoting rival actors might "play on the Puritanism" of the Academy's members to discredit Dujardin in the notoriously fierce competition.

The company that distributes the film in France, Mars Distribution, did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Dujardin and the film also declined.

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