In this rapidly evolving political climate, many figures in the entertainment industry are re-evaluating past movies and shows based on today's social standards. Streaming services including have begun pulling old episodes of shows that have been deemed racist, often for depictions of blackface. Actor Idris Elba weighed in on the matter in an interview with Radio Times magazine. In his opinion, the shows should be kept on the platforms, but with a warning issued beforehand.

“I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” said Elba. “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, X ... I don’t know anything about X, by the way.” Elba continued to say that audiences should be allowed to watch the episodes, but be able to “know what they're getting into.” Elba’s opinion is in line with recent actions taken by HBO Max with Gone With the Wind. The movie has been restored to the platform, but it’s accompanied by a disclaimer video as well as a panel discussion analyzing its racist themes.

Netflix removed episodes of 30 Rock and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and U.K. series Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have been dropped by BBCiPlayer and Britbox entirely. While Elba says such actions are justified “out of respect for the time and the movement,” he also believes that people should understand that “freedom of speech is accepted.” Said Elba: “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.”

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