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Idris Elba Opposes Canceling Old Movies, TV Shows: ‘I Don’t Believe In Censorship’
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 01: Tyler Perry and Idris Elba attend the ceremony honoring Tyler Perry with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held on October 01, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Actor Idris Elba has come out against canceling old movies and TV shows with content now deemed offensive or racist.

Speaking with Radio Times, Elba said that the controversial episodes of “30 Rock,” “The Golden Girls,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” and others should not be erased and should instead contain warning labels at the front.

“I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” Elba said. “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. 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,” he continued. “But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into. 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.”

Last month, during the protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, HBO Max temporarily pulled “Gone with the Wind” and added an introduction from Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart to put the movie’s depiction of slavery and racism in its proper context. After deciding to pull the film and issue the introduction from Stewart, WarnerMedia chief Bob Greenblatt said the move was “a no-brainer.

“We failed to put the disclaimer in there, which basically sets up the issues that this movie really brings up,” said Greenblatt. “We took it off and we’re going to bring it back with the proper context. It’s what we should have done. I don’t regret taking it down for a second. I only wish we had put it up in the first place with the disclaimer. And, you know, we just didn’t do that.”

Speaking on “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg, the second black American actress to win an Oscar, said she opposes canceling “Gone with the Wind” and the show “Cops.”

“Personally I think if you put things in a historical context — because if you start pulling every film … you’re going to have to pull all of the blaxploitation movies because they’re not depicting us the right way,” said Goldberg.

“That’s a very long list of films,” she continued. “If you put, before you show the film: Listen, this was shot when things were different, and we don’t, you know, we don’t do this anymore, that’s what — you have to put something in context, and I think with ‘Cops,’ listen, if you balance the people you arrest — if you arrested everybody, if you make it widespread — white people, yellow people, brown people. If everybody’s getting arrested, you can have ‘Cops.’ It just feels like it’s a whole bunch of black people all the time. I’m just saying.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Idris Elba Opposes Canceling Old Movies, TV Shows: ‘I Don’t Believe In Censorship’