Sniper Fears on Inauguration Day? Only in a Movie Ad

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As Americans watched Barack Obama deliver his inaugural speech last Tuesday, amid memories of our fallen leaders Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the prospect of some wingnut taking a shot at our first African-American president as doubtlessly on many viewers’ minds.After all, Obama received Secret Service protection earlier than any previous presidential candidate, and Inauguration Day coverage dwelled often on his heavily-fortified GM vehicle, The Beast, and his bullet-resistant undergarment.

So viewers watching the coverage on CNN may have felt their hearts skip a beat when they saw an ad for new conspiracy thriller The International–which includes a scene of a man being shot as he delivers a speech from behind a podium. (Watch the trailer below.)

The unfortunate coincidence didn’t escape CNN, which pulled two additional airings of the trailer scheduled for later in the evening.

“We believe our viewers clearly recognize this was a promotional trailer for an upcoming feature film,” said the network in a statement. “Due to the brief but potentially conflicting visual included in the spot, a decision was made…in deference to our Inauguration Day programming,”

When we caught the trailer again the next night, during the season premiere of Lost on ABC, the assassination scene was gone.

Asked if the studio had edited the spot our of sensitivity or in response to criticism, a spokesman for Sony’s Columbia Pictures, which releases The International on Feb. 13, said only that there are multiple versions of the trailer in rotation.

Indeed, CNN says it plans to air them this weekend, including those with the scene in question.

Watch the trailer for The International below (with assassination scene at 1:17):