Society is undergoing rapid cultural shifts which require adjustments, even to entertainment programming from the past. We’re doing our best to keep track of everything being banned or being considered for banning here. So if you’re wondering why your favorite television show is suddenly missing, you’ll probably find the answer below.
Kindergarten Cop Pulled For Being Racist
With Hollywood unable to release new movies due to the pandemic, drive-in movie theaters have been playing classic films to give people a reason to show up and buy tickets. One movie that’s been in rotation is the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Kindergarten Cop, or at least it was until recently. Now it’s being pulled because some people feel it’s racist.
It started when “historian” and Oregon based author Lois Leveen launched a twitter tirade against the movie in which she leveled the following claims…
“There’s nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools, which feeds the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline in which African American, Latinx, and other kids of color are criminalized rather than educated. Criminalizing of children increases dramatically when cops work in schools. Yes, Kindergarten Cop is only a movie. So are Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, but we recognize films like those are not ‘good family fun’. They are relics of how pop culture feeds racist assumptions. Kindergarten Cop romanticizes over-policing in the U.S.”– -Lois Leveen
In response, the Northwest Film Center Drive-In in Oregon panicked and pulled the movie issuing this statement…
“Due to overwhelming demand, the Northwest Film Center has added a second showing of John Lewis: Good Trouble to the Cinema Unbound Drive-In at Zidell Yards, with tickets on sale now at http://nwfilm.org. The additional showing on August 6 replaces Kindergarten Cop, which had been chosen for its importance in Oregon filmmaking history. After discussion with staff and community members, however, we agreed that at this moment in history, John Lewis: Good Trouble is the right film to open this year’s Drive-In series.”
365 Dni Under Fire
The erotic Polish movie 365 Dni (aka 365 Days) has been a huge hit on Netflix, largely because of its near realistic sex scenes. But now activists want it banned.
The movie is about a woman kidnapped and turned into a sex slave by a mobster, where she starts to get a bad case of stockholm syndrome. Obviously this is pretty intense content and it’s not for everyone, but some people think it isn’t for anyone. A petition has been launched to get the movie banned and after only five days it has already received more than 65,000 signatures.
The petition claims “I am not against censorship” but then goes on to demand Netflix censor the movie. It further claims: “These scenes are being watched by millions of impressionable teens and young adults wanting to learn about intimacy. Except this isn’t intimacy, this is an assault served to us on a silver platter. “
The movie’s rating prohibits from being shown on any Netflix profile that does not belong to adult, so that part if their claim is false. It is being shown to people over 18, which would comprise young adults, but young adults are adults and thus are allowed to make their own choices under the law.
So be warned before you decide to sign the petition, many of its claims are false.
The petition closes by saying, “By taking down this movie on Netflix, we can protect sexual violence in adolescent women and adult women. And we can prevent boys from seeing such horrific behavior as permission to sexual assault and rape women.” It fails to explain how censoring a movie will accomplish this, but 65,000 people seem to believe it’s true.
It all started when singer-songwriter Duffy sent a letter to Netflix demanding its removal. Earlier this year Duffy revealed she was once kidnapped and raped on her blog. She believes that gives her the moral authority to request the movie’s removal from the public. In her letter to Netflix she says, “I don’t want to be in this position to have to write to you, but the virtue of my suffering obliges me to do so, because of a violent experience that I endured of the kind that you have chosen to present as ‘adult erotica’.”
She goes on to make her case by attacking the content in much the way conservative Christians used to attack offensive content in the late-90s saying: “‘365 Days’ glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape. This should not be anyone’s idea of entertainment, nor should it be described as such, or be commercialized in this manner.”
So far there has been no comment or response from Netflix and the movie remains on their platform. As the petition gains signatures, however, they may be forced to respond as they have often done in the past, by banning the movie.
Mad Men Won’t Ban Itself
So far nearly every show that’s even had something which could in some way be slightly misconstrued as blackface, regardless of the context, has censored itself or banned the episode in question to avoid controversy. With one exception: Mad Men.
Mad Men contains a particularly egregious instance of blackface in the season 3 episode “My Old Kentucky Home”. In that episode Roger Sterling does a blackface comedy routine to amuse the office. But Lionsgate and AMC have announced they will not pull the episode. They will, however, attach a disclaimer to it.
That disclaimer will read: “This episode contains disturbing images related to race in America,” the title card will read. “One of the characters is shown in blackface as part of an episode that shows how commonplace racism was in America in 1963. In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become. We are therefore presenting the original episode in its entirety.”
The Office Gets Censored
While other shows are getting entire episodes banned, The Office has managed to avoid that fate by simply censoring out the parts that streaming services are no longer willing to show people. At least that’s what they’ve done with the season 9 episode “Dwight’s Christmas”.
In the episode Dwight gets the office to celebrate a Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas and it includes a scene where Mark Proksch’s Nate goes blackface to play a fantasy character called Zwarte Piet. That scene has now been removed from the episode, while the episode itself is being left up and otherwise intact on streaming.
Scrubs Bans Itself
Scrubs is probably the last show anyone would think of, when it comes to racial insensitivity. The core of the show revolves around the friendship between a white doctor (J.D.) and a black surgeon (Turk). But Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence apparently disagrees. He has been pushing for three episodes from the show to be banned, and streaming services have decided to comply.
The three episodes banned from streaming by Hulu are season 3’s “My Friend The Doctor” and from season 5 “My Jiggly Ball” and “My Chopped Liver.” In one Zach Braff dons blackface and Donald Faison dons whiteface as a college prank they do together. In another Sarah Chalke has black makeup on her face as part of a fantasy sequence where she’s a mashup character named Turkiot.
Netflix Bans A Beloved Community Episode
One of the most beloved and iconic installments of the television show Community is the season 2 episode “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons”. Unfortunately, fans will no longer be allowed to watch it on streaming platforms.
Netflix and Hulu currently hold the rights to stream Community and both companies have banned the television episode from their platform for being too offensive. In the episode, Ken Jeong’s morally reprehensible character Chang shows up in black makeup, a white wig and claims he’s cosplaying as a “dark elf”. Chang’s use of blackface to do this is meant to make people who use blackface look bad, since Chang is clearly a terrible person on the show. In fact, Shirley calls him out for committing a hate crime.
However, current cultural norms no longer tolerate blackface, no matter the reason for its use. So Netflix has banned the show from their Community catalogue.
Hulu Bans An Episode Of The Golden Girls
Hulu is the current home of the iconic sitcom The Golden Girls, and they’ve banned one of the show’s episodes due to activist backlash. The banned episode is number 23 from season 3, titled “Mixed Blessings”. In that episode Dorothy’s (Bea Arthur) son Michael plans to marry an older black woman Lorraine.
The episode has been accused of using blackface, even though that’s not exactly what happens. What really happens is that Lorraine’s family happens to arrive at the exact moment that Rose and Blanche are trying a new mud mask facial treatment. Rose, always known for saying the wrong thing, says: “This is mud on our faces, we’re not really Black.”
Netflix Bans It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Episode In The UK
Ironically, even though the cast and crew are in real life ardent progressive activists, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has always been one of the most offensive shows in the history of television. Now other activists are getting one of their most offensive episodes yanked from rotation.
The episode in question is called “Dee Reynolds Shaping America’s Youth” and it features the gang making their own Lethal Weapon 5. In the course of doing that, Dee and Mac end up wearing blackface.
Netflix UK has pulled the episode from their streaming service, presumably in response to the current worldwide cultural shift on race issues. Netflix has not commented on the removal and the series is not available on Netflix US.
The It’s Always Sunny characters are supposed to be awful human beings, a portrayal of the worst in society. So having them do just about anything is a way of saying it’s a bad idea, and that was their intent with having characters wear blackface in the show.
However, intent only goes so far and it is no longer culturally acceptable to wear blackface for any reason, even for reasons of satire. Episodes like this are being banned everywhere.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Cast Wants One Episode Gone
Usually when a show gets banned for having offensive content, it’s outside forces that lobby for it to be censored. In one case though, the actual cast of the show in question seems to want one of their episodes banned.
The show is Star Trek: The Next Generation, generally lauded as one of the most progressive shows in the history of television. But there is an episode from season one called “Code Of Honor”, in which the Enterprise encounters an entirely black culture where men keep women as property, and some people want it banned.
During an interview with GalaxyCon series stars Jonathan Frakes and Denise Crosby made it a point of bringing the episode up so they could distance themselves from the work they did in it. Here’s how the conversation about “Code of Honor” played out…
MODERATOR: Well, we’ll talk about anything you want to talk about.
FRAKES: The embarrassment heaped upon us in season one, mostly on Denise.
CROSBY: Can you imagine playing that right now in this climate?
FRAKES: [nodding] That’s what I am trying to lead the witness to.
CROSBY: Wow, wow.
MODERATOR: Maybe there were some good intentions there, but they got buried along the way.
CROSBY: [shaking her head] Nah, nah, nah.
Frakes has attacked “Code of Honor” before, calling it a “racist piece of S#@*.” And the episode is frequently ranked as the worst ever Star Trek: The Next Generation episode by fans.
Feeling they have the support of Frakes and Crosby, some fans have begun lobbying for the episode to be banned, so that future generations will be able to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation without it.
Amazon Considers Banning Dukes Of Hazzard
One older show on the chopping block is The Dukes of Hazzard. Perhaps the most popular television shows of the 80s, it even spawned a movie in the early 2000s starring peak Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke. Now it exists to be rewatched on streaming, or at least it does for now. But word is that streaming providers are considering banning the show.
At issue is the show’s iconic car, the General Lee. Not only is the car named after the notorious Confederate general, it also sports the Confederate flag as a design on its roof. Here’s what the General Lee’s roof looks like…
Aside from the iconic and always controversial car, there’s nothing particularly racial about The Dukes of Hazzard. It doesn’t really talk about race at all and it doesn’t ever really mention the Civil War or the confederacy. But there’s the car, and it is perhaps the most pivotal and famous part of the entire show. In an environment where we’re pulling down Civil War monuments of all types, it’s hard for corporate America to make something like this available to watch.
Currently Amazon has said they are weighing their options and considering banning it. The show has long since been banned from other services. TV Land used to air it but dropped it in 2015. Warner Bros. stopped selling Dukes of Hazzard licensed products even though it has remained wildly popular amongst certain demographics. Amazon pulling the show may be the end of it, which would mean in the future no one will be able to watch The Dukes of Hazzard.
Tina Fey Bans Her Own Show
Tina Fey has been working to get episodes of her own show, 30 Rock, banned because they contain instances of blackface. Two of the episodes, “Believe in the Stars”and “Christmas Attack Zone”, feature Jane Krakowski in blackface. There’s also “Live from Studio 6H” in which actor Jon Hamm goes blackface for an Amos and Andy parody. And lastly there’s “The Live Show” from season 5. All four of these episodes have now been pulled from all streaming platforms at Tina Fey’s request.
In her note to various streamers requesting their removal Fey said, “As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation. I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request,”
Her note sounds a little like a ransom letter someone was forced to write by their captors, but given Tina Fey’s very public politics I think it’s safe to assume she’s sincere and not doing this just to pre-emptively banning herself to avoid an attack by Twitter cancel culture.