ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - As the Black Lives Matter movement spreads across the world, prompting some entertainment platforms to review their offerings to scrub any sign of racism, one of South Africa’s most successful yet divisive entertainers is feeling the pinch.
Netflix and the BBC have started scrubbing shows featuring blackface from their online platforms, and now local streaming service, Showmax, has joined the fray. And the first to go is Leon Schuster.
Netwerk24 reported on Friday evening that several of the 69-year-old comedian’s films have been removed from Showmax. Those include You Must Be Joking, You Must Be Joking Too, Oh Schucks…It’s Schuster, Sweet ‘n Short, Schuks! Pay Back the Money, and Frank and Fearless. Even Schuster’s most recent successes, Mama Jack, in which Schuster dressed up in blackface, and Mr Bone, in which he plays a white sangoma, have gotten the chop.
News24 reports that Richard Boorman, head of communication for Showmax, confirmed that several films have been removed from the platform as the streaming service reviews all content that could possibly be racially insensitive.
Benedict Maaga, MultiChoice’s senior manager for corporate communications, said Multichoice strongly condemns racism or prejudice of any kind and has in the past also removed content found to be problematic.
Schuster told Netwerk24 that he was “shocked” and “can’t believe that the content of his films does any harm”. He said it was “innocent” and just him “pranking people”.
However, in an interview with Leonie Wagner from Sunday Times in August 2018 the comedian was “unapologetic about playing on every racial stereotype in his films” but openly admitted that he “does have some regrets about having profited from blackface”.