Mixed reactions over Showmax's removal of Leon Schuster films
The removal of Leon Schuster films from streaming platform Showmax has caused a divide among social media users.
The streaming service removed all signs of perceived racist content on its platform, after the Black Lives Matter ripple effect around the world.
This after other streaming services, such as Netflix, announced that they were carefully curating a “list of titles that only begin to tell the complex and layered stories about racial injustice and Blackness in America”.
Netflix also said it would remove or make adjustments to shows and movies that featured racist stereotypes.
According to a News24 report, head of communication for Showmax, Richard Boorman, said Leon's films were removed due to being possibly racially insensitive.
The removed films included You Must Be Joking, You Must Be Joking Too, Oh Schucks ... It’s Schuster, Sweet ‘n Short, Schuks! Pay Back the Money, and Frank and Fearless.
Currently, the streaming service has no films under Leon's name. Speaking to Netwerk24, the filmmaker said he was “shocked” and does not believe that the content of his films does any harm.
However, according to a 2018 Sunday Times interview, Leon was “unapologetic about playing on every racial stereotype in his films”.
He told the publication that he only had some regrets about profiting from blackface because he was called out.
“On Twitter, they said stay away from the blackface, it's not on. It was black people talking to me and you've got to listen.
“I can't do it because I'll be heavily criticised. In the olden days, it troubled nobody. But I won't go blackface now, I can't do it. There's not one actor in the world that will. It's just racist.”
On Twitter, some users defended Leon, saying his movies were part of their childhood.
Leon Schuster has done more for peace and reconciliation than anyone who participates in Cancel Culture— Christoff Smuts (@ChristoffSmuts) June 20, 2020
Would love a debate with executives at @ShowmaxOnline who felt the need to censor Leon Schuster's work of decades in South Africa.— Unathi Kwaza (@Unathi_Kwaza) June 20, 2020
I suspect he or she knows nothing about the history of this country and why these films were important right at the time they were made @GarethCliff
Others sided with Showmax's decision.
All of the people saying it’s just humour in the conversation on Leon Schuster, here’s a short thread. Many years ago, I was external examiner of an MA research report on why and how Schuster’s films rely on a series of historic racist tropes.— Pumla Dineo Gqola, PhD (@feminist_rogue) June 20, 2020
Most South Africans have not been exposed to the history of blackface. In the past, I too saw nothing wrong with Leon Schuster’s comedy but after reading this article, now I’m extremely offended.— Nathi Phandliwe (@naaathi_p) June 19, 2020
[A Thread] https://t.co/dvs0FNNltL pic.twitter.com/VYu8CmDvlu
The way Black SAns will, almost on autopilot, defend abelungu, abo Leon Schuster is pathetic.— A Black Woman 🇿🇦 🇿🇦 (@SneKhumaloSA) June 20, 2020
Even he said it's racist!!
The portrayal of blackface–when white people darken their skin with enlarged lips and other exaggerated features, is steeped in centuries of racism.
I live in a country where black South African men are excusing Leon Schuster's continuous use of blackface all because he has black friends🤣🤣🤣— Indecisive Libran (@IGotgot3) June 22, 2020
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