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'Ghostbusters' did not endorse Hillary Clinton, Sony says

Sony Pictures may not be afraid of ghosts, but the studio is, it seems, nervous about politics.

The “Ghostbusters” movie’s official Twitter account posted what many interpreted as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday after she officially became the Democratic nominee for president, and then deleted the tweet on Thursday.

“Boo-yah, we smashed your glass ceiling. There was a ghost behind it, ” the tweet read, with a GIF of Kate McKinnon’s character winking and the hashtags “#ImWithHer,” “#BustTheCeiling” and “#Ghostbusters.”

On Friday the studio said the tweet had been misinterpreted.

“The tweet was never intended to be a political endorsement,” a spokeswoman for Sony said. “It was a shout-out to our own glass ceiling-busters.”

It’s easy to understand why some saw the tweet as an endorsement: It carried the #ImWithHer hashtag, a Clinton campaign motto, and like the Clinton campaign, the movie’s marketing has been infused with a female empowerment theme. Many other noteworthy women in Hollywood, including Elizabeth Banks, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham and Sigourney Weaver, appeared at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week to formally endorse the candidate.

A political tweet from a major studio movie’s official account would be eyebrow-raising, as film marketers commonly try to avoid alienating potential audiences for a popcorn movie by wading into a matter of national debate.

And yet “Ghostbusters,” which has grossed $94 million domestically since it opened July 15, has been at the center of a maelstrom of its own ever since director Paul Feig announced that he would be rebooting the 1984 horror comedy with a female cast.

Like the Democratic nominee, the film starring McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones has triggered some anger among those who hate to see women in roles traditionally held by men. Aggrieved male fans of the original film starring Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray mounted a campaign against the movie online, rating it poorly on IMDB before its release, slamming its trailer on YouTube and targeting Jones, the movie’s black star, with racist comments on Twitter, prompting the actress to enlist the social media company’s help in closing antagonistic accounts.

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