South African filmmaker and comedian Leon Schuster has defended his use of blackface in films amid a review by Showmax that has seen his content removed from the streaming service.
According to Digital Spy “blackface stretches back centuries and its implications are deeply rooted in oppression. Local streaming service Showmax recently also started to review content on its platform that could be considered to be racially insensitive. These include a large chunk of films by South African filmmaker Leon Schuster.
Showmax confirmed to TshisaLIVE this week that it had removed Leon’s films from their catalogue while they review them for “racially insensitive material”.
“We removed Leon Schuster content as a precautionary measure, pending a review to ensure there is no racially insensitive material. That review is currently underway. This is part of a wider review of content on Showmax — it’s something happening in parallel with reviews by streaming services worldwide,” said Showmax’s head of communications, Richard Boorman.
Leon Schuster told TshisaLIVE he was upset by the decision, but would not fight it.
“You have to endure it. What can you do? They are the mkhulus of the industry and you can’t just kick out against them. I am not the type of person to take revenge. I have been doing the same thing with different storylines and candid camera for 35 years, and only now there is an issue.”
He said he was saddened by the news, which comes as he finally finished writing a script for Bones 3: Son of Bones. It will feature Alfred Ntombela and tell the story of a young boy overcoming challenges to prove himself a man. Leon said he fears this latest decision may mean the film will never see the light of day.
“I wish these guys would have called me a year ago and told me this. I have worked my gat off over the last year to write this script and for two years prior to that. It saddens me. I have worked so long and it seems like it is all going down the drain.”