Forever 21 Apologizes for Blond White Model ... As Face of 'Black Panther' Ad

2:47 PM PT -- A rep for Forever 21 tells us, "Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way."

The image of the model has also been swapped for one of just the sweater.

This is definitely a "You Might Wanna Rethink" moment for Forever 21. The retailer's using a white model to try and sell you its "Black Panther" merch for Christmas. Oh, boy ...

The images are live on its site right now for Forever 21's Wakanda Forever Fair Isle Sweater. It's a blond-haired, blue-eyed white dude rockin' its custom Christmas sweater, with a "Wakanda Forever" slogan and a Black Panther mask on the front.

It's definitely not an oversight either -- someone at F21 really thought this would be a good idea, as they have the model's stats on the same page ... he's 6'1" and sports a medium fit.

We're not saying there's anything wrong with white people supporting "Black Panther" or even wearing something like this -- on the contrary, more power to 'em.

But, to not feature a black model for this Christmas sweater campaign seems out of touch and just dumb, if you ask us. Sometimes common sense just ain't all that common, is it?

Originally Published -- 1:08 PM PT

Black Panther & Robin Join Forces For ... Super Power Lunch

Chadwick Boseman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt crossed comic book lines for a little POW wow while chowing down ... superhero costumes, sadly, not included.

The Black Panther and Robin grabbed a bite to eat Monday afternoon in L.A. and, judging by the huge grins on their mugs ... it hit the spot. We're guessing they didn't compare Marvel and DC box office numbers. Let's be honest, Joseph wouldn't be smiling if that was the case.

Maybe King T'Challa's just in the market for a new sidekick? In yo' face, Dark Knight!

Lea Thompson 'Popular' Oscar Goes to ... 'Back to the Future,' Of Course!


Lea Thompson has zero doubt "Back to the Future" would've dominated the Oscars competition if the Academy had dreamed up the new popular film categories 32 years ago.

We got Marty McFly's mom outside Avra in Bev Hills, where she weighed in on the big Oscar changes coming in 2019. Lea makes no bones about it ... 'Future' was a global success that built an immediate cult following, and could have cleaned up.

The film, btw, did have some success at the Academy Awards in '86 -- it got nominated in 3 categories (Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song and Best Sound Mixing) and scored 1 statue for Best Sound Editing.

We wonder if "Black Panther" is now set up to do some Oscar damage, and if it is ... Lea's cool with it!!

Know what's not cool? The image of Lea banging Howard the Duck! Even the Academy has limits.

Chrissy Metz Oh, of Course I'd Play a Superhero! I'm Split on Which Universe


Chrissy Metz says she'd love to throw on a cape and save the day on camera -- now the harder question ... DC or Marvel?

We got the 'This Is Us' star Saturday at LAX, where we asked about a revelation she made in her novel 'This Is Me' regarding abuse she suffered as a child. She offers some heartfelt advice to girls going through similar situations ... and then pivoted to spandex tights.

Our guys asks if she's a 'Black Panther' fan since her co-star, Sterling Brown, acts in it. Surprise ... she is, and wouldn't be opposed to donning a mask herself if the opportunity presented itself. Sounds like she's open to any and all, too. Whip up those scripts.

Stan Lee Stolen Blood Hits The Shelves On 'Black Panther' Comics


2:26 PM PT -- Evan Michailidis, a legal rep for for the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. tells us, "We’re a retail store which purchased product from Hands of Respect LLC and DLK Brand Consulting LLC that appeared certified and obtained with authorization. The books were removed from our shelves immediately."

Stan Lee's allegedly stolen blood is up for sale -- in the form of the Marvel legend's signature -- stamped on one of his biggest hits.

We've learned several 'Black Panther' comic books are currently available at the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. store on the Las Vegas Strip. Each edition comes with a certificate of authentication that details the item as a "Hand-Stamped Signature of STAN LEE using Stan Lee's Solvent DNA Ink."

We broke the story ... Stan's friend and partner Keya Morgan discovered the 95-year-old's blood was allegedly stolen back in October after a former business associate presented Lee's nurse with fake docs that authorized that a sample be drawn.

Our sources say the nurse pulled enough blood from Stan for him to feel lightheaded and dizzy.

We're told the 'Black Panther' comic with Stan's Hancock in blue is selling for $250 ... the one in gold is twice that at $500.

Stan's legal team is currently weighing its options to go after the former business associate who allegedly lifted Lee's blood.

Producer Will Packer White Directors Need Not Apply For 'Black Panther' Sequels


When the "Black Panther" sequels start filming, a black director MUST call the shots ... according to Will Packer, who cranks out some of the most successful African-American movies.

We asked Will -- producer of "Straight Outta Compton," "Think Like a Man," "Girls Trip" and many more hits -- if someone like J.J. Abrams could take the helm for the 'BP' franchise -- which just broke the $1 billion global box office mark.

As accomplished as Abrams is, Will says he wouldn't cut it in Wakanda. He says if Ryan Coogler taps out for any of the inevitable sequels, Disney should only consider another black director.

It's not an issue yet, but seems like Will's putting the Mouse House on notice.

'Black Panther' Actor I'm a DACA Dreamer ... But, I Fear the Future


A "Black Panther" actor is one of many DACA recipients sighing in relief after the Supreme Court refused to take up the case ahead of schedule ... but he says his future in America is uncertain.

Bambadjan Bamba came on "TMZ Live" hours after SCOTUS issued the Trump administration a crucial blow in its bid to phase out DACA by March 5 ... basically telling the Prez to kick rocks and to allow the case to go through the appeals process first.

Bambadjan says the court's decision -- or non-decision, if you will -- is not the long-term solution for those who want to renew work permits and remain in the country.

Bamba says Dreamers need to keep up the fight ... something he's doing with his upcoming podcast, "My Undocumented Hollywood Dream."

'This Is Us' Writer Jas Waters Offset Shocked Me and 500 Kids At 'Black Panther' Event


Offset gets the award for best "plus one" ... after pulling a last minute surprise at a "Black Panther" screening for at-risk kids, and not even the event organizer knew he was doing it.

Jas Waters, a writer on "This Is Us," told us how she came up with the idea to screen the film at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood over the weekend. It all started with her offering 2 free movie tickets on Twitter ... and ended with Offset marching into the screening with Lil Yachty.

As we previously reported, several celebs have been participating in the 'Black Panther Challenge', where they help disadvantaged and minority children see the film for free.


Waters ended up getting 500 kids in the screening, and always knew Offset was down -- but says Yachty was a very pleasant surprise guest. Pretty clear, the kids agreed with Jas.

Diddy Hell Yeah, I'm Down For More 'Black Panther'!!!


Someone get Diddy a script for the "Black Panther" sequel -- because he's ALL IN after the film's record breaking weekend!

Diddy was leaving Nightingale Sunday night in WeHo when we asked if he thought the movie's tremendous success would convince Hollywood to greenlight more black films. His reaction was the most enthusiastic -- and maybe a little booze-fueled -- we've seen yet.

'BP' made $192 million so far, and is projected to top $235 mil once the holiday weekend is over -- the biggest February opening ever.

You can tell ... he knows the numbers, and "hell yeah" ... he's amped about 'em!!

C'mon, Diddy as King T'Challa's 2nd cousin in the music biz ... for 'BP2'?

NBA's Festus Ezeli Stoked About 'Black Panther' Will Show the Real Africa


Nigerian NBA player Festus Ezeli says it's about damn time the REAL Africa was depicted on a movie screen, and tells TMZ Sports he's excited that Marvel's "Black Panther" will do just that.

We got Festus at LAX and asked him just how jammed up he was about a superhero movie set completely on his home continent, and that's when he told us how important the film is to him.

"It's great to have a movie that depicts the REAL Africa."

Ezeli goes on to tell us he's sick of the perception that Africa is a poor, backwards continent, and he thinks BP, and it's portrayal of the resource-rich, fictional nation of Wakanda, can change that perception.

"Africa is a very rich continent, and people don't know that. I think it's great we having a movie like that coming out."

WAKANDA FOREVER! (Go see it, and you'll understand).