Sky Cinema add warnings to Dumbo and Flash Gordon over ‘outdated attitudes and language’

Spokesperson said Sky is ‘committed to supporting anti-racism and improving diversity and inclusion both on and off screen’

Louis Chilton
Friday 19 June 2020 16:41
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John Oliver responds to HBO removing Gone With The Wind

Sky Cinema are adding warnings to select films that contain “outdated attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offence today”.

The TV channel, the content of which is also available on NOW TV, is including the disclaimer with films such as Gone with the Wind, Flash Gordon and Dumbo.

The move follows the announcement that US streaming service HBO Max was temporarily removing Gone with the Wind amid criticism of its racist depictions of slavery.

A spokesman for Sky told PA: “Sky is committed to supporting anti-racism and improving diversity and inclusion both on and off screen.

“We constantly review all content on Sky’s owned channels and will take action where necessary including adding additional information for our customers to allow them to make an informed decision when deciding what films and TV shows to watch.”

Flash Gordon has been called out for its racist portrayal of east Asian villain Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow), while Dumbo is considered offensive due to its crow characters, which are widely interpreted as crass caricatures of African Americans.

One of the other films which received a warning on Sky Cinema was the 2019 live action remake of Aladdin, starring Will Smith, although PA report that this was a mistake. The warning was intended for the 1992 animated version of the Disney film, starring Robin Williams.

The 1939 epic Gone with the Wind – a reported favourite of US president Donald Trump – told the story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivienne Leigh), the daughter of a plantation owner, and her love affair with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

Long considered a classic, the film has undergone a critical re-appraisal in recent years. HBO Max said: “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.”

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Noughties sketch series Little Britain was also recently removed from streaming services including Netlix, BritBox and BBC iPlayer, after being criticised for scenes in which its stars, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, wore blackface.

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