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BBC pushes ‘institutionally racist’ claim against cinema chain that pulls its gang film rather than address the real issue

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
BBC pushes ‘institutionally racist’ claim against cinema chain that pulls its gang film rather than address the real issue
After violence at a showing of 'Blue Story,' that saw police with tasers frightening young cinema-goers, the BBC, which backed the gang film financially, has been running with wild claims of racism against the Vue cinema chain.

Following a fight at the Star City screening of 'Blue Story,' police arrested five teenagers and took away two machetes and a knife which they found at the scene. Meanwhile, young children at the Vue complex, which was also screening 'Frozen 2,' were left in tears after dozens of police arriving at the melee were met with violence and resorted to using their tasers to regain control and clear the cinema, before it was shut for the evening.

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Vue Cinemas then pulled the film about a South London postcode war from its 91 nationwide cinemas and now Showcase has followed suit. Breaking with the cinema solidarity, Odeon are still screening the film. The ham-fisted move backfired, however, and Vue has now been branded “institutionally racist” by the considered minds on Twitter and have something of a PR disaster on their hands. Unfortunately for them, it has been pointed out that cinemas across the USA still screened 'The Dark Knight Rises' even after the 2012 shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 injured at a midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado.

The key issue here in the UK is why this latest incident happened in the first place. How have things become so worryingly everyday violent, that a young teenager heads off for a night at the cinema with his friends tooled up with knives and machetes? While we in Britain may not have the ready accessibility to firearms that they do in the USA, an increasingly disturbing predilection among our youth to cause severe violence and affray, while stabbing and slashing at people with zombie blades, machetes and knives from the kitchen drawer puts us right up there with the world leaders in the field of public disorder.

Just a month back, liberal hand-wringers in the States were suggesting that the release of the movie 'The Joker' may have been a bit much in the wake of the Colorado tragedy seven years ago. These protectors of society were joined in their concerns by likeminded souls in the UK. The Guardian headline “He is a psychopath: has the 2019 Joker gone too far?” was typical at the time.

But there is no way you will read a headline like that about 'Blue Story'. The film has a young, black director in Andrew “Rapman” Onwubolu and was backed by the liberal BBC. They duly plugged the movie and its young cast across their television, radio and internet channels, and the red carpet premiere in Mayfair a couple of weeks back was an assembly of British film worthies, all lauding this new “important” movie.

So instead of looking at the real issues, the liberal media – led by the BBC – has led with an attack on the cinemas, seen as faceless, greedy corporations, rather than address the idea that there might be a serious gang problem in the nation’s second biggest city. Feeling it was on to something, the BBC went into overdrive, using the claim online from a black events organizer, Sheila Knowles, 24, to justify their headlines. Ms Knowles claimed, “People are calling the ban discriminatory and institutionally racist.”

“A lot of people are very agitated because it just seems like a very systematic and targeted attack.”

In a masterclass of sloppy sensationalism, the BBC never offered any evidence to explain who the source was talking about or whether they could back up her claims of either racism or of a “systematic and targeted attack”. To them, it didn’t matter because they had what they wanted, now they could play the race card against the big bad cinema chain.

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While conforming to type, the BBC is doing no favor to anybody with this Twitter-fueled approach. Not the film makers, not the cinemas, not the audiences and particularly not the young gang members who are killing one another on our streets with alarming regularity.

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