Showmax removing 7 titles from its platform after concluding review of racially insensitive content

Showmax mobile app. (Photo: Supplied/Showmax)
Showmax mobile app. (Photo: Supplied/Showmax)
  • Showmax has completed its initial review of content on its platform that could be racially insensitive.
  • Seven titles, of which five are films by Leon Schuster, have been removed from the platform.
  • The local streaming service says it can't tell people what is right or wrong but can make decisions on what content it hosts.
  • Leon Schuster says "there's nothing" he can do about the decision except make a cinematic return with a "fantastic new film".

South African streaming service Showmax on Friday released a statement confirming that they’ve conducted and completed an initial review of the content on their platform.

The purpose of the review was to identify racially insensitive content and to remove it from its offering. 

The initial announcement that the streaming service was reviewing its content was met with both support and backlash online. Many felt the content did not offend them, while others praised Showmax for taking a definitive stand against blackface.

"We have completed an initial review of the content on Showmax. Seven titles have been removed due to negative racial stereotyping and prominent elements of blackface," the South African streaming platform confirmed in the statement. 

Of the six Leon Schuster movies that were under review, Frank & Fearless will be made available on Showmax again. The other films (You Must Be Joking, You Must Be Joking Too, Oh Schucks…It’s Schuster, Sweet ‘n Short, Schuks! Pay Back the Money) will not.

Showmax statement

"We recognise these movies are a product of their time and were created with positive intent. Showmax is an entertainment service and we don’t endorse the views or actions that take place in the shows and movies on our platform.

"It’s not our place to tell people what is right or wrong, nor what they should find offensive. But we will make decisions as to what content we are comfortable hosting," the statement read.

"We believe that platforms such as ours have a role to play in bringing people together through shared experiences. We don’t want to shy away from polarising topics, but we also don’t want to sow division. We won’t always get the balance right, but we’ll do our best to listen and to learn from our mistakes."

Leon Schuster responds

Channel24 reached out to Leon Schuster on Friday for comment who said he was relieved to see that Frank & Fearless would be available on the platform again.

About his other five films removed, Leon said: "There’s literally nothing I can do about it. The best thing I can do is come back with a fantastic new film."

According to the South African filmmaker he’s currently busy working on the script for Mr Bones 3 with Alfred Ntombela and compares it to a Karate Kid type of story.

"It doesn’t help to moan or bad mouth anyone. When you fall hard you learn a lot. You get up and come back stronger," Leon said over the phone.  


Leon Schuster: 'I don’t want us to laugh at each other, I want us to laugh with each other'

- OPINION | Conrad Koch: 'I grew up loving Leon Schuster. He’s an icon of our racist society' 

Rob van Vuuren apologises for using blackface in Leon Schuster film

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