Sales of censored movies and TV shows skyrocket
Australia's television watchdog has had no complaints in 18 months about a raft of legendary shows swept up in the Black Lives Matter movement as jittery TV networks pulled more shows off air yesterday.
Two American reality cop shows bit the dust amid heightened tensions in the US about the treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement.
A Nine spokesman confirmed the network has scrapped US police docu-series Live PD, which was scheduled to air on 9Rush tonight, from its schedule while SBS has pulled Live PD, which was on SBS On Demand and SBS VICELAND.
An SBS spokeswoman said: "We constantly review our content offering considering the impact and context in which it's being shown, and make occasional changes. We're focused on ensuring Australians have access to a range of programming and coverage across the network which explores and encourages understanding of issues impacting our society."
The Saturday Telegraph can reveal that the Australian Communications and Media Authority has not received any recent complaints about shows removed for allegedly offensive character portrayals from streaming services such as Netflix and Stan this week, including four Chris Lilley comedy series.
"The ACMA has received no complaints about We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, Jonah From Tonga or Fawlty Towers since January 1, 2019," the authority said.
But the controversy has apparently sparked a resurgence of popularity in many of the black-listed shows.
Academy Award winning film Gone With The Wind sits at the top of Amazon's movies and TV bestsellers list after HBO Max made a decision to temporarily pull the 1939 film classic from its streaming services because of its depiction of racial themes.
Its DVD, Blu-ray and 70th Anniversary edition now occupy the number one, number eight and the number nine slot on the Amazon charts respectively.
The classic, Lilley's shows and Fawlty Towers are also racing up the Australian iTunes charts.
The 1975 British comedy, starring John Cleese, found new popularity after the BBC-owned UKTV pulled the famous Don't Mention The War! episode from its streaming services yesterday.
In a statement UKTV said it temporarily removed the episode, The Germans because it contained "racial slurs".
"We regularly review our content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language. Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take the time to consider our options," it said.
The episode contains scenes including main character Basil Fawlty making comments about World War II to a German family and being visibly shocked while treated by a black doctor in hospital. There is also a scene in which a racist retired major uses slurs to describe the West Indies cricket team. The episode is now sold out on Amazon.
Politicians have weighed into the cancel culture debate, with Labor leader Anthony Albanese calling for "common sense".
"People can watch things, they can learn from them, doesn't mean you agree with them, doesn't mean that everything that they did was right," Mr Albanese told 2GB. "It happened, you can't pretend that it didn't happen."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said debates about cancel culture were "not going to create one job".
But in the TV industry the backlash is very real, with Sunrise host Samantha Armytage, targeted yesterday because of two historical segments, vehemently denying she was racist.
The 43-year-old took to Instagram yesterday after news broke yesterday that she and media commentator Prue MacSween are being sued in the Federal Court of Australia for racial vilification after comments made about indigenous families.
"AT NO STAGE DID I SUGGEST A SECOND STOLEN GENERATION," Armytage wrote in her post about the 2018 Sunrise segment which discussed a government minister's calls for new adoption laws. She also denied any wrongdoing in the 2015 segment in which she appeared to congratulate a white teen for having fair skin and released a series of vile online threats and taunts she had received. Among them: "You deserve every hate that's coming to you and I can't wait until you're dead," and "Rasict (sic) piece of shit dirty white fat f**king slut, go loose (sic) some weight ya tubby dog."
Meanwhile rival TV network Channel 10 has denied that its corporate support of the BLM movement could influence its news departments.
It follows a report in the Telegraph yesterday that staff had been alerted to the company's stance via internal email and felt they had no choice but to sign up to it.
One staff member said "there is an expectation that the content will reflect that."
A 10 spokesperson said: "Any inference that our corporate support would impact our ability to provide and present balanced news reporting and stories across our editorial and news programs is completely false and misleading. Across our family of brands, a broad range of views and perspectives continue to be aired."
Professor David Flint, former Chairman of the Australian Press Council, told The Saturday Telegraph while it was acceptable for Channel 10 to editorially state its support for the BLM Movement its "news reporting should be restricted to the facts."
"One of the problems for the BLM movement in Australia is that the statistics do not fit the claims," he said. "While a television station is free to broadcast comment, any facts in that comment must be as far as possible correct. "
Originally published as Sales of censored movies and TV shows skyrocket