The Mighty Boosh becomes that latest show to be pulled from Netflix
The Mighty Boosh becomes latest show to be pulled from Netflix over scenes containing blackface… following Little Britain and The League Of Gentleman
The Mighty Boosh joins The League Of Gentlemen and Little Britain in being pulled from Netflix over scenes containing blackface.
The BBC comedy show features a character called The Spirit Of Jazz, portrayed by Noel Fielding.
The character is supposed to be the ghost of fictional jazz musician Howlin’ Jimmy Jefferson.
In the bin: The Mighty Boosh joins The League Of Gentlemen and Little Britain in being pulled from Netflix over scenes containing blackface. The BBC comedy show features a character called The Spirit Of Jazz, portrayed by Noel Fielding [pictured]
Series are being binned from the streaming service following the recent Black Lives Matter protests that have been taking place primarily in the US and the UK.
Fielding – who these days presents The Great British Bake Off – played a black, dreadlocked character in his erstwhile off-the-wall sitcom, which aired from 1998–2009, with a one-off in 2013.
The Spirit Of Jazz has sparked much discussion over racism, with Fielding also finding himself in hot water after a picture emerged of him painted black while dressed as tennis star Bjorn Borg.
The League Of Gentlemen was pulled because of its blackface character Papa Lazarou – and more films and TV shows face removal from streaming services over ‘racist’ stereotypes.
Not so funny: Fielding – who these days presents The Great British Bake Off – played a black, dreadlocked character in his erstwhile off-the-wall sitcom, which aired from 1998–2009, with a one-off in 2013 [he starred alongside Julian Barratt, pictured right]
The controversial character was played by white actor Reece Shearsmith. It has been heavily criticised over the years for his painted face.
The show was pulled from Netflix in the UK a week ahead of its expiry date of June 19, alongside Canadian series The Drunk And On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour which also features two characters in blackface.
Netflix has also removed comedian Chris Lilley’s controversial shows Summer Heights High, We Can Be Heroes, Jonah From Tonga and Angry Boys from the platform in Australia and New Zealand, Deadline reported.
Delete! The League of Gentlemen has been pulled from Netflix for its blackface character Papa Lazarou [pictured]
Scrapped! Netflix has also removed comedian Chris Lilley’s controversial shows Summer Heights High, We Can Be Heroes, Jonah From Tonga and Angry Boys from the platform in Australian and New Zealand
His most recent series Lunatics, which was created in collaboration with Netflix, is still available to stream despite accusations of racism and blackface in Lilley’s portrayal of a trans-racial woman.
It comes after Little Britain was removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox amid concerns that the use of blackface characters on the series is no longer acceptable.
In an apparent reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests, Netflix pulled the Matt Lucas, 46, and David Walliams, 48, series on Friday, along with the pair’s other comedy Come Fly With Me.
On Monday, the BBC and BritBox both confirmed they had also decided to remove Little Britain saying ‘times have changed’ since the show first aired.
When asked if more shows would be removed, a BBC spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The change only affects Little Britain.’
Gone With The Wind has also been temporarily removed by HBO Max from its streaming platform after it was criticised for romanticising slavery.
The 1939 Civil War epic, starring Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, is based on a novel written three years previously by Margaret Mitchell.
It tells the story of a turbulent romance during the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Hattie McDaniel, who would have been 127 today, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, becoming the first African American to win an Oscar.
Off-air: Hattie McDaniel, as Mammy, with Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, which HBO Max removed from its streaming service on Tuesday amid criticism of the content
Reaction: Social media users took to Twitter to discuss the latest round of removals from streaming services
The film has been viewed through a more critical lens in recent years, with many questioning whether a film that glosses over the horrors of slavery should still be shown.
The League Of Gentlemen, which was created by the BBC, and three of Chris Lilley’s shows are still currently available to watch through the broadcaster’s streaming service.
Stars of The League of Gentleman have previously defended the controversial Papa Lazarou character, with Shearsmith telling the Independent in February: ‘It was not me doing a black man.’
‘It was always this clown-like make-up and we just came up with what we thought was the scariest idea to have in a sort of Child Catcher-like way,’ he added.
‘And I don’t think we ever had any complaints then.’
The show, which stars Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Shearsmith, follows a number of residents from the fictional town of Royston Vasey. It premiered on BBC Two in 1999.
Stereotypes: Lucas played coffee shop worker Precious Little in Come Fly With Me
Gone: Little Britain has been removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox amid concerns that the use of blackface characters on the series is no longer acceptable
Its removal from Netflix follows All 4’s decision to axe Bo’ Selecta, which impersonated black stars such as Craig David, Trisha Goddard and Michael Jackson.
Will these TV shows and films be pulled from streaming services too?
After HBO Max pulled Gone With The Wind and Netflix axed The League of Gentlemen amid the George Floyd protests, attention has turned to other films that now be at risk of removal.
Chiefly among those are several classic Disney movies hosted on the Disney+ streaming service.
They include Dumbo (1941), Swiss Family Robinson (1940 and 1960), Fantasia (1940), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Sign of Zorro (1958), Jungle Book (1967), and The Aristocats (1970).
Dumbo contains racist stereotypes of African Americans at the time in the form of black crows, who use jive-like speech patterns.
The main bird is even named Jim Crow, a nod to the racist segregationist Jim Crow laws of the time, and is voiced by a white actor.
Disney’s 1941 classic movie Dumbo
Swiss Family Robinson airs on Disney+ with a warning
As of last November, all of the above classics air on the streaming network with the warning that they ‘may contain outdated cultural depictions’ or that it may contain footage of characters smoking.
No further measures have yet been announced as Black Lives Matter protests spread globally, but bosses are expected to turn their attention to other films with the aforementioned Disney films seemingly most at risk.
The service already does not show 1946 film Song of the South because of its dated racial stereotypes.
Disney chairman Bob Iger said earlier this year: ‘It was just not appropriate in today’s world.’
Old Warner Brothers cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry, already air with a warning about cultural sensitivity.
One movie that is not expected to ever be available on streaming is Birth Of A Nation (1915) – the DW Griffith film hailed as the birth of cinema.
The film portrays the Ku Klux Klan as sympathetic characters.
It was pulled from All 4 after creator Leigh Francis recently issued a tearful apology. It is, however, still available on Prime Video.
The second round of removals suggests an uncertain future for other popular comedy series which feature similar techniques, though many are still available to watch on streaming sites.
Friday’s decision by Netflix to remove Lucas and Walliams’ two series sparked anger from subscribers to the service, who were annoyed when they discovered the two shows had been dropped.
Journalist and former MEP Daniel Hannan was among those to speak out.
He wrote: ‘There is an unbearable smugness in rushing to condemn Ali G, Bo’ Selecta or other shows that were fine until the day before yesterday. As if to say, ‘You all thought this was fine, but look – I’m more sensitive than you’. Hmmm. Maybe you’re just more priggish.’
But the company is understood to have believed it was the right thing to do.
The move is likely to lead to calls for more outdated shows that may be seen as racist to be removed.
Those angered by the move said they were ‘fuming’ and ‘gutted’ at the decision.
Some viewers complained they were in the middle of watching the series.
One viewer said people should be able to make their ‘own choices’.
But others have expressed growing unease about watching sketches which featured the comedians wearing make up to portray different races, amid claims it was offensive.
One viewer said they were ‘shocked’ that it had been available.
In Little Britain, David Walliams wore make up to play health-spa guest Desiree DeVere. In Come Fly With Me, he played ‘passenger liaison officer’ Moses Beacon and airline boss Omar Baba, while Lucas’ characters included coffee shop worker Precious Little.
The BBC’s iPlayer was airing the first series of Little Britain which included a scene where the pair were made-up to look like blackface entertainers. But has now taken the series down.
A spokesman for the BBC said: ‘There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review. Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.’
BritBox, the streaming service from ITV and the BBC, which had been showing three series of Little Britain, has now also removed the show.
It said last night: ‘Times have changed since Little Britain first aired, so it is not currently available on BritBox. Come Fly With Me has not been available on the service for six months.’
There had been a mixed reaction to Netflix’s decision to remove both Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen from the service.
One user said on Twitter: ‘League of Gentlemen has been removed from Netflix for use of blackface.
‘There are no words.’
Another wrote: ‘Absolutely furious that Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have been taken off Netflix.’
‘Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have both been removed from Netflix….so now I can’t watch these shows because you don’t like it?,’ said a third.
‘I want to live in a free country and make my own choices. Not an oppressive regime where I’m told what I can and can’t watch.’
But another viewer said on Friday: ‘I’m guilty for watching Little Britain and Come Fly With Me and looking past the black face but we all must face up and accept this was unacceptable and it’s still shown on Netflix.’
Another person speaking at the end of last week told Netflix: ‘Take Little Britain down.
‘Please do not endorse a show which perpetuates stereotypes of minority groups and makes a laughing stock of people who have to fight for basic equality within life.’
This comes after comedian Leigh Francis tearfully apologised for impersonating black stars on his show Bo’ Selecta.
He said he had been thinking about his Channel 4 show and had not realised at the time how offensive it was.
A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: ‘We support Leigh in his decision to reflect on Bo Selecta in light of recent events and we’ve agreed with him to remove the show from the All 4 archive.’
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