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Netflix Removes 4 Shows From Australian Comic Chris Lilley Over Questions of Racial Insensitivity

Stephanie Sengwe

Netflix is once again having to remove content due to racial insensitivity. According to Deadline, the streaming giant has removed four shows from Australian comic Chris Lilley after questions regarding some of the characters in the show came up. The streamer has taken down “Angry Boys,” “Summer Heights High,” “We Can Be Heroes” and “Jonah From Tonga” from its Australian and New Zealand libraries because the comic used blackface to portray some of his characters.

“‘Angry Boys’ features blackface character S.mouse, while ‘Summer Heights High’ and ‘Jonah From Tonga’ include Jonah Takalua, for which Lilley wore brown makeup. In ‘We Can Be Heroes,’ Lilley plays Chinese physics student Ricky Wong,” Deadline reports.

While Netflix and the BBC were in agreement to remove “Little Britain” from their platforms, the BBC has decided to take a different approach and keep Lilley’s shows on iPlayer. “Summer Heights High” and “We Can Be Heroes” will remain on the streaming service, while standalone clips of “Angry Boys” will still be available on youth service BBC Three’s website. “There are 10 clips of S.mouse, including a music video in which Lilley repeatedly uses the n-word,” according to Deadline.

Apart from Lilley’s shows, Netflix has also removed “The League of Gentlemen” after it featured yet another blackface character named Papa Lazarou. The show remains on the BBC as it is their product.

Yesterday, following the news that Netflix, BBC and BritBox had axed “Little Britain,” media companies also flagged that the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” has been removed from HBO Max’s lineup.

In the decades since its release, the movie has been criticized for its depiction of slavery. But since the murder of George Floyd, networks and streamers are reexamining their inventory. (Paramount Network canceled “Cops,” which is in its 33rd TV season.)

HBO Max’s decision came a day after screenwriter John Riley (“12 Years a Slave”) wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times asking WarnerMedia to remove the film from circulation. He cited its racist imagery and romanticized version of the Confederacy.

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