Last week Showmax removed Leon Schuster content from its platform as a precautionary measure pending a review to ensure there is no racially insensitive material.
This is in line with many other international broadcasters and streaming services which are reviewing their content following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
One of the prominent topics which the Black Lives Matter movement focuses on is blackface, where a person wears makeup to make themselves look like a black person.
Schuster often used makeup to disguise himself as a black person in his movies to prank unsuspecting victims.
While it is not clear what Showmax’s criteria is for judging racially insensitive material, it is likely that blackface will be one of the considerations.
Six Leon Schuster movies were removed and are currently being reviewed:
- Sweet n Short
- Oh Schucks, It’s Schuster
- You Must Be Joking
- You Must Be Joking Too
- Pay Back The Money!
- Frank & Fearless
It is understood that no permanent decision has been made yet and it is therefore possible that at least some of the Leon Schuster movies will return to the Showmax platform.
Support for Leon Schuster and his movies
Schuster criticized the removal of his movies from Showmax, saying he was shocked and upset by the decision.
He told Netwerk24 he has been doing this type of comedy, where he uses disguises to prank people, for decades.
“I cannot believe that the content of my movies causes any harm. It is completely innocent,” Schuster said.
Schuster was widely supported on social media with most commentators, independent of race or culture, saying his movies are not racist.
“Leon Schuster has never been racist he has always been about the people. We love you Schucks, Schuster,” said one Twitter user.
“Are you kidding me? Leon Schuster has been a pioneer in the SA film industry, making people of all colours and cultures laugh together,” said another.