The Pitch Perfect 2 Trailer is Not Perfect: Ruined with a Harmful Joke

With the release of the Pitch Perfect 2 trailer, I feel like a large part of the conversation is missing. Especially from websites and outspoken voices that I admire, like The Mary Sue and other popular news outlets that often point out sexual assault and feminist issues. I am surprised there is not more discussion on the end of the Pitch Perfect 2 trailer.

In the very last scene, Bumper asks Fat Amy if she would like to have sex later. Fine, yes, good. Asking for consent. Hoorah. But then, Fat Amy says no. She says no. But she winks. Bumper expresses that he is confused, as he should, saying “so that’s a no then?” Fat Amy responds “A hundred percent no” But then winks. AGAIN.

What is considered consent has been a huge discussion in the media lately. The YouTube community has released many videos on this topic, including this one by Hank Green . It’s important to content creators that everyone in the YouTube community is on the same page. No means No, and Yes means Yes.

And I thought we went over this, with the Blurred Lines debacle of Summer 2014 . I thought we were on the same page here?

I wanted this trailer to be everything that it could have been—singers and musicians, bonding over something as cool and creative as a capella. I wanted to laugh at all the dumb college shenanigans the characters would get into, and I wanted to relate with Anna Kendrick’s leadership and talent. I wanted to catch a glimpse of Pentatonix in the trailer.

But instead I was left with my head tilted to the side, saying, “ what ?” I was left with a “no means yes” joke. One that perpetuates so many stereotypes and consent issues, that I am surprised no one said, “Hm, maybe this isn’t funny? Can we think about this for a second?”

It’s not like the issue is a secret or just coming to light. According to this Huffington post article, “Lawmakers are proposing legislation to address the issue. The White House has clearly articulated if someone says “No,” there isn’t consent, and it’s assault. Fraternities are frequently getting in trouble for putting up “No Means Yes” banners , or chanting it on campus .”

Imagine having an issue that you’ve experience yourself be the butt of a joke that all of your friends are posting on facebook. It doesn’t feel too good and like maybe this issue doesn’t matter at all, or that you didn’t try hard enough to get your point across.

It makes me feel uncomfortable, like I am the one to blame. What if I give the wrong idea? What if they read too much into this? Jokes like this in the media perpetuate the “no actually means yes” social belief that is so hurtful for people who have been victims to crimes of sexual assault. These awful and distasteful jokes do nothing to dismantle the cultural beliefs that are so harmful. Think about that, next time you share the trailer with friends. Is it okay to look past these “no actually means yes” jokes because you’re excited for the rest of the movie? I’m not convinced.


  1. I completely agree that this is a problematic joke as it is in the trailer. HUGELY. But problematic jokes were also in the trailer for the original film, and then the full movie pretty much exceeded expectations I had for it (the trailer really made PP look like it was going to be allllllll fatphobia all the time). Given how I ended up being pleasantly surprised for the first one, I’m willing to hold off on being super angry about it.


    1. Agreed 100%. I don’t think I’ll rage quit and never see the movie, but using the joke out of context is disappointing and leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.


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