In the current fierce competition from companies streaming TV shows have not only created a large amount of new content for the public, but also large archives of old film and television content are a fundamental part of the offer of some systems, such as Disney Plus and HBO.
However, in an environment where the issue of racism has once again become a central part of the discussion due to the protests around George Floyd’s death in police custody, the old content that touches on these issues from perspectives that are now inadmissible is undoubtedly a matter to be addressed.
For example, in early June, HBO removed the classic Gone With the Wind (1939), in a kind of solidarity with the anti-racist movement Black Lives Matter. Subsequently, HBO Max announced that the film would return to the catalog “with an exposition of its historical context and a denunciation of those representations, but it will do so as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as ensuring that these prejudices never existed” .
For its part, Disney has taken action with various characters and stories that have been criticized for allegedly reflecting stereotypes.
Song of the South (1946) is another case, since the Disney film, based on the folk stories of Uncle Remus, an old black man who worked in a cotton plantation in the United States, can no longer be seen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bob Iger, CEO of the company, saw Song of the South and he felt that part of it “would not necessarily sit well with several people today” and that “it would not be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain.”
Later, when Disney announced its streaming He added the following warning to his old cartoons: “This show is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural representations.”
The above warning works for works like Lady and the Tramp (1955), whose Siamese cat characters have been criticized for allegedly representing Asian stereotypes; Dumbo (1941), by the crow character named Jim Crow, who was associated with racial laws and The Lion King (1994) where hyenas have been interpreted as symbols of minorities.
Warner Bros., meanwhile, has censored many of its racially offensive cartoons since the 1930s and, in 2014, added a content warning to the beginning of the old Looney Tunes cartoons.
Warner used much stronger and more direct language than Disney, admitting that the content “may represent some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were common in American society. These representations were wrong then and wrong today.”
Netflix se mueve
Netflix, meanwhile, removed four shows by Australian comedian Chris Lilley after criticism for using makeup to portray black or mixed-race characters.
According to the Entertainment website Deadline in an article published on June 10, We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys and Jonah From Tonga were the suspended programs, which can no longer be seen on the streaming in Australia and New Zealand.
In Summer Heights High and the spin-off of that series, Jonah From TongaLilley, 45, wore dark makeup to play Jonah Takalua. En Angry Boys, the comedian used a black face for the role of a rapper named S.mouse. Similarly, Lilley also portrayed a Chinese physics student named Ricky Wong.
Two of Lilley’s other shows, Lunatics and Ja’mie Private School Girl, are still available to watch on Netflix in both countries. However, Lunatics, which is the only series on the platform in the United States, has also provoked reactions because the comedian plays a South African woman named Jana.
According Deadline, the producer of LunaticsLaura Walters had already spoken about this character, saying that Lilley “is not representing a woman of color.”
Netflix also removed British comedies from its catalog Little Britain and Come Fly With Me, in the UK for the use of blackface for some skits. Then Britbox and BBC followed the same path and took off the air Little Britain.
Little Britain It was first broadcast in 2003 and the actors painted themselves to portray characters from other races. “Times have changed since it was first broadcast. There is a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we review regularly,” the BBC said in a statement.
Begining of June, The Help It was the most viewed movie on Netflix, but according to the IndieWire entertainment page, the film came under fire for “its narrative of white saviors and for neglecting the perspective of black characters such as maids Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny. (Spencer) “.
Despite the fact that the film was not removed from the streaming service, many critics asked the audience to stop watching it.
“I’m so sorry, but the last thing people should be watching are pirate ‘racial reconciliation’ movies like The Help. If you need a list of black movies, black movie critics are happy to suggest some really good ones,” wrote Rebeca Theodore. -Vachon, a critic of Entertainment Weekly, Forbes and NYTimes.