After years of being called out for doing blackface, Netflix has pulled most of Chris Lilley’s shows from their streaming service.
Four shows have been removed in total — We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys and Jonah From Tonga. These shows originally aired on the ABC but are no longer available on iView.
In these shows Lilley portrayed people of colour such as a teenage Tongan boy and a black rapper named S.Mouse.
In his 2005 series, We Can Be Heroes, Lilley also portrayed a Chinese student. Lilley received a Logie for Best New Talent off the back of the show.
Racist content is being removed on several platforms
The removal of Lilley’s shows came after the BBC pulled comedy Little Britain from iPlayer, the British equivalent of ABC iView. Matt Lucas and David Walliams portray several non-white characters, as well as a trans character, in the show. HBO Max in the U.S. has removed Gone with the Wind due to its depictions of slavery during the U.S. Civil War.
Earlier this week Netflix also removed The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen.
This resulted in ‘Chris Lilley’ trending on Twitter, with some Australians asking for its removal from Netflix.
Great, now the challenge is for Netflix in Australia to get rid of Chris Lilley's Summer Heights High, Jonah From Tonga, and Angry Boyshttps://t.co/quznVBRY81
— Patrick Lenton (@PatrickLenton) June 10, 2020
I figure now is a good time to remind you that @ChrisLilley released a remix of his song "squashed n***er" when a Indigenous child got ran over?
A song he preformed while wearing blackface.
Dunno, just seems you should probably do something about that.
— Beautifuldeadly Decolonisation (@btddecolonize) June 10, 2020
OK, is it NOW time to cancel Chris Lilley?
— Claire G. Coleman (@clairegcoleman) June 10, 2020
Lilley has been criticised in recent years due to his repeated use of blackface, most recently in 2019 over his latest show, Lunatics. It seemed that once again Lilley was utilising blackface through a South African character named Jana.
Despite criticism over the character, according to the SMH Lilley’s producer, Laura Waters, stated this was not blackface.
“Correcting some confusion – in the new show Lunatics, Chris Lilley is not portraying a woman of colour,” Waters said.
“When the series is released you will see that Jana is a white woman with huge 70s style curly hair.”
What’s worse: the election or Chris Lilley doing blackface again??
CW: racism, blackface pic.twitter.com/Z2KUei0DMd
— Joshua Badge (@joshuabadge) April 10, 2019
Lunatics was the second most popular series on Netflix in Australia in 2019, and remains on Netflix Australia. Jamie: Private School Girl, also remains.
Congratulations to Lunatics for being one of Netflix’s highest rating shows of 2019 in Australia. pic.twitter.com/pLtDC7MeeK
— Chris Lilley (@ChrisLilley) December 30, 2019
At the time of writing Lilley had not made a statement about the show removals. Netflix Australia has declined to comment on the removal.