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14 Jul, 2020 21:27

'We should be allowed to say what we want': Idris Elba blasts censorship of movies & TV over offensive material

'We should be allowed to say what we want': Idris Elba blasts censorship of movies & TV over offensive material

‘Luther’ star Idris Elba has pushed back against moves to censor past movies and television shows, saying he believes in “freedom of speech” and is against censorship to protect audiences.

“The thing about freedom of speech is that it’s not suitable for everybody,” Elba told Radio Times magazine when asked about the recent removal of certain shows or episodes of said shows deemed racially insensitive.

“To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it… I think viewers should know that people made shows like this,” the actor said, arguing rating systems already in place should be enough for audiences to “know what they’re getting into.”

Elba went on to argue that storytellers should have the right to “say what we want to say” without fear of being censored. 

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“I don’t believe in censorship. I believe that we should be allowed to say what we want to say. Because, after all, we’re story-makers,” the ‘Thor’ star said.

Despite films like ‘Gone with the Wind’ being given warning labels, and episodes of numerous television shows being pulled from or censored on streaming services due to racial material causing outrage, major artists have been relatively silent when it comes to speaking out against it. 

Some have even seemingly backed the trend of censorship, like Tina Fey who requested episodes of her hit series ‘30 Rock’ be pulled because they included the use of blackface. She also apologized for the past work.

Other series like ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and ‘Golden Girls’ have also had episodes including blackface pulled by streaming services, though critics have argued many of the examples being cited are satirical takes on the offensive act, rather than legitimate uses. 

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Numerous artists have also pulled out of jobs after activists targeted their work in recent weeks, including actor Mike Henry who stepped down as the voice of Cleveland Brown on the animated show ‘Family Guy’, a role he had voiced for decades, after critics on social media blasted the fact that a white artist was voicing a black character.

The trend of cancel culture has primarily been criticized by conservative pundits in recent months, but Elba is far from right-wing. The actor is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and has spoken openly about facing racism both as a child in Britain and even as one of Hollywood’s top leading men.

“Success has not negated racism for me. Asking me about racism is like asking me about how long I have been breathing,” Elba said. 

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