Publishers hire sensitivity readers to do more than sanitize upcoming books.
They also censor classic tales we’ve read for generations. Beloved authors like Ian Fleming, Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl have had their works tweaked to appease modern audiences, and the lack of sizable outrage means more editing will surely follow.
Is Hollywood getting on the censorship bandwagon?
A disturbing report from Hollywood Elsewhere, magnified by Breitbart News, shares how the 1971 Best Picture winner “The French Connection” lost a nine-second sequence because the film’s lead utters the “n-word.”
The censorship isn’t just on one platform showing the Gene Hackman classic. Hollywood Elsewhere commenters said the edit appeared at a public screening of the film held at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theater along with Turner Classic Movies.
Even worse? If you buy the film from iTunes it’s reportedly giving consumers the newer version. Will future Blu-ray editions of the film follow suit?
The more alarming question is unavoidable.
What classic films will be tweaked next? And will consumers be notified about the changes, or will these stealth edits permanently alter classic works of pop art?
It took a rebellious film web site to blow the whistle on the “French Connection” edits, and it’s likely mainstream Hollywood news outlets will ignore the matter. Clearly, the source of the censorship isn’t firing off press releases to share the news. Censors often work in darkness, hoping to avoid blowback for their efforts.
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It’s why many Big Tech platforms go silent when they shadow ban or delete material that allegedly clashes with its “community standards.”
It may be up to eagle-eyed viewers to spot the next censorship attack. By then, of course, it’s too late.
The “n-word,” considered universally offensive with a corrosive history in the U.S. and elsewhere, is commonly uttered on screen. Director Quentin Tarantino has taken heat for his heavy use of the word in his work, but he hasn’t backed down on the matter.
“If you have a problem with my movies then they aren’t the movies to go see. Apparently I’m not making them for you.”
Will the studios that own his films excise some of those slurs without his approval?
What about other offensive phrases, like the “f-word” for gay people? It’s not nearly as incendiary as the “n-word,” but it’s still considered offensive and hurtful by modern standards.
The 1999 football drama “Varsity Blues” used the term in one sequence. Will that be snipped next?
Breitbart News suggests Disney is the source of the “French Connection” censorship. The company has owned the 20th Century Fox film lineup since 2019, and that’s the studio behind the Oscar-winning film.
Censorship is on-brand for the Mouse House, no doubt.
Disney routinely apologizes for its past “problematic” content, slaps warning labels on older films that a very small minority may find offensive and embraces the woke ideology across its content platforms.
The company also canceled theme-park attractions that it now considers offensive, like the Splash Mountain ride.
In recent weeks we’ve seen some mild pushback on the censorship front. Both Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks spoke out against sensitivity readers and attempts to censor past films.
Spielberg blamed himself for doing just that when he digitally removed the guns out of the hands of FBI agents in “E.T.”
Will other actors stand up and denounce the “French Connection” edit, or will they be too afraid to risk crossing the woke mob?
“The French Connection” director William Friedkin, 87, could weigh in on the matter. Hackman, at 93, remains retired from acting and isn’t likely to comment.
It’s up to modern actors to speak out against censorship and demand great films remain untouched by both time and the censorship mob.
UPDATE: Forbes contributor John Archer throws water on the theory that Disney is behind the censorship.
This is terrible. But I just checked the version of The French Connection on Disney+ in the UK, and the ‘offending’ scene still appears in its uncut form. Can anyone with Disney+ in the US confirm this is the case there, too? If it is, maybe it’s not Disney’s fault after all? 🧐 https://t.co/MWpT1YZZQd
— John Archer (@BigJohnnyArcher) June 6, 2023