US reality TV show Cops has been dropped from its network and Gone With The Wind has also been temporarily removed by a streaming service as demonstrations against racism and police violence continue around the world.
HBO Max, which launched in the US last month, says American Civil War epic Gone With The Wind includes “racist depictions” that were “wrong then and are wrong today”.
It added that the 1939 film – which President Donald Trump has named as one of his favourites – will eventually return with a discussion of its historical context.
Paramount says Cops, which started in 1989, is no longer on the network and there are no future plans for it to return.
The moves follow the announcement on Tuesday that comedy show Little Britain had been removed from streaming platforms in the UK, and after public apologies from some celebrities over previous behaviour on screen.
Black Lives Matter demonstrations have taken place around the world following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest.
Cops, which allowed viewers to ride along with police officers on patrol in various cities in the US, had been pulled temporarily from air at the end of last month, following Mr Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on 25 May.
However, the move has now been made permanent.
A spokesperson for the Paramount Network said: “Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.”
It is not clear whether Langley Productions, the company that makes the show, will try to find a new network. Sky News has contacted the firm for comment.
The show, which has the reggae song Bad Boys as its theme tune, ran on the Fox network for 25 years until 2013. It then moved to Spike TV, which was rebranded as the Paramount Network in 2018.
Gone With The Wind, starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Hattie McDaniel, tells the love story of Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh), the daughter of a plantation owner in Georgia, and Rhett Butler (Gable), a Southern aristocrat.
The film broke theatre attendance records on its release and went on to win eight Oscars, including best picture, best actress for Leigh and best supporting actress for McDaniel – the first black person to ever win an Academy Award.
However, McDaniel had to sit separately from her co-stars, at a table at the back of the room, and the film has been heavily criticised for its depiction of slavery.
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In a statement sent to US entertainment sites Variety and Deadline, an HBO Max spokesperson said: “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.”
When the film returns, “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”, the statement said.
“If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”
Mr Trump referenced the film at a rally earlier this year, as he mocked South Korean picture Parasite following its historic success at the Oscars in February.
Imitating an Academy Awards presenter, Mr Trump said: “And the winner is a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about?
“We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of that, they give him best movie of the year? Was it good? I don’t know. Let’s get Gone With The Wind. Can we get Gone With The Wind back, please?”
In the UK, Little Britain has been removed from Netflix, NOW TV, iPlayer and Britbox after coming under fire over the use of blackface in some of its sketches.
Meanwhile, comedian Leigh Francis has apologised for “offensive” portrayals of celebrities including Craig David, Michael Jackson and Trisha Goddard on sketch show Bo’ Selecta, which first aired in 2002.
US late night TV host Jimmy Fallon has also apologised for wearing blackface during a Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch 20 years ago.
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Source : Sky News