Amidst all the racial injustice happening across the country, people are trying their best to re-examine their way of life and what they can do to make the world a better, safer place for all. Like the rest of the world, the entertainment industry is trying to do their part in supporting the Black Lives Matter moment and it starts from the messages portrayed in the media regarding social equality and the role of law enforcement. It comes as no surprise that many people’s view of the way society is supposed to function and the way the world works comes from the portrayal of people of color and cops in television and movies, and a lot of times they are shown in heavily stereotyped, inaccurate ways that are just offensive.
One film that’s considered a classic and has won several Oscars including best picture, glorifies slavery and negative stereotypes of Black people, Gone With The Wind, has been removed from HBO this past week following protests over the death of George Floyd. The film was released in 1939 and tells the love story of southern aristocrats Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leight) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and it takes place in the American South on a plantation in the aftermath of the Civil War.
“Gone With The Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible,” an HBO Max spokesperson told Variety. The film is set to eventually return to the platform but with a discussion about its historical context and a denouncement of the racist portrayals.
But, it’s not just Old Hollywood films that have been affected by what’s going on around the country, Paramount Network has canceled the long-running television show Cops and Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and BritBox have removed Little Britain from their platforms. Cops debuted in 1989 on Fox and moved to Paramount Network (formally known as Spike TV) in 2013. Over the past few years, the show has been under fire for its depiction of law enforcement and what goes on behind the scenes. “‘Cops’ is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said in a statement.
The comedy series Little Britain and the comedians’ airports mockumentary Come Fly With Me were removed from networks after characters used blackface to portray different ethnic backgrounds. Star Matt Lucas regrets playing Black characters on the show, “I wouldn’t make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now,” he told Big Issue in 2017.