Actor Idris Elba weighed in on the removal of old movies and TV shows deemed racist or sexist, saying he’d opt for keeping the shows but with warnings or even a ratings system.
“I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” Elba said in an interview with Radio Times magazine. “But the thing about freedom of speech is that it’s not suitable for everybody. That’s why we have a rating system: We tell you that this particular content is rated U, PG, 15, 18, X…I don’t know anything about X, by the way.”
Elba’s comments come as his The Long Run comedy returns to UK’s Sky One for a third series. As in the U.S., streamers in Britain including BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox have recently pulled old episodes deemed racist, often for depictions of blackface, including Little Britain, Come Fly with Me, 30 Rock, Peep Show and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Said Elba, “To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it – wait a second, I think viewers should know that people made shows like this.
“Out of respect for the time and the movement, commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone-deaf at this time – fair enough and good for you. But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into.”
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