The Mighty Boosh, League of Gentlemen & other shows pulled from Netflix over blackface
Via Deadline, Cult British comedy The Mighty Boosh is the latest television series to be taken off Netflix because it features white actors in blackface. The series, which was created by Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, featured a recurring character, The Spirit of Jazz, played by Fielding with black makeup and dreadlocks. While Netflix has taken the entire series down, The Mighty Boosh is still available on Amazon's Prime Video, and in the UK, it's still available via the BBC iPlayer.
Netflix has also removed British comedies League of Gentleman, and David Walliams and Matt Lucas' series Little Britain and Come Fly With Me for the same reason. Little Britain was also removed from BBC iPlayer and the Britbox streaming service, but League of Gentlemen remains on both.
Lucas, who is set to be a new host on The Great British Baking Show, said in a 2017 interview with The Guardian, “If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play black characters. Basically, I wouldn’t make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now.”
These are not the only programming to be removed from streaming services following the global discussions of racism and prejudice over the last two weeks.
HBO Max has temporarily removed Gone with the Wind from the streaming service until it can be presented with “an explanation and a denouncement” of its “racist depictions” (which is what Turner Classic Movies has done when it has shown the film):
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. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.
Vulture reports that Amazon is currently considering whether it will continue to stream late-'70s/early-80s CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard, which starred Tom Wopat and John Schneider as "good ole boys, never meanin' no harm" that drove a car named The General Lee that was decorated with the Confederate flag. Following the 2015 mass murder of nine people in a South Carolina church by a white supremacist who had posed for pictures with the Confederate flag, Warner Bros announced they would stop licensing the car for toys, and the series was pulled of cable network TV Land, but in 2018 it appeared as part of Prime Video's free options. (Dukes of Hazzard is also available to rent digitally through many DSPs like iTunes and Google Play).
Meanwhile, the Navy, the Marines and NASCAR have all banned the Confederate Flag.
Also amid the protests against police brutality and institutional racism, the Paramount Network has canceled long-running docuseries COPS, which spent six season on the cable network (that was previously known as Spike) and ran for 25 seasons on FOX. "COPS is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return," a Paramount Network executive told Deadline. The series was pulled right before its 33rd season was set to premiere.
Likewise, A&E has canceled its very popular series Live PD (one of the highest rated shows on basic cable). "This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” read a network statement to Deadline. “Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.”
Netflix also added Black Lives Matter as a genre and now prompts you to visit their curated BLM selection before taking you to the homepage. The selection includes 13th, Let It Fall, Malcolm X, Who Killed Malcolm X?, LA 92, Dear White People, Teach Us All, When They See Us, What Happened Miss Simone?, #blackAF, and more.