Idris Elba Says Racist Television Episodes Shouldn't Be Pulled
"I think viewers should know that people made shows like this"
Published Jul 17, 2020In the wake of this summer's Black Lives Matter uprising, television companies have reminded us that, well, just about every TV show has done blackface or other acts of racism. While streamers and television networks have scrambled to delete offending episodes, some have said that they should remain in tact.
Among those speaking against the networks is Idris Elba, who has said that television shows should stay on the air as a reminder of what has happened, as well as a matter of freedom of speech.
Speaking with the Radio Times, he said, "I'm very much a believer in freedom of speech.... But the thing about freedom of speech is that it's not suitable for everybody."
Elba then referenced the British rating system while discussing the offending shows. "That's why we have a rating system: We tell you that this particular content is rated U, PG, 15, 18," he said. "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."
He added: "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.
Elba concluded, "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."
In recent months, episodes of shows like 30 Rock, Community, The Office, The Mighty Boosh, Little Britain, Fawlty Towers and many, many others have been removed from streaming services.