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‘You People’ Casts Eddie Murphy as Farrakhan Apologist

Woke comedy accidentally shows folly of demanding righteous characters

Talk about problematic.

The culture clash comedy “You People,” debuting Jan. 27 on Netflix, features a mixed-race couple facing friction from their respective families.

Jonah Hill plays a white 30-something podcaster who meets the woman of his dreams (Lauren London), and she happens to be black. Cue “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”-style misunderstandings with both clans.

You People | feat. Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill | Official Teaser | Netflix

The comedy, co-written by Hill and “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris (who directs), casts Eddie Murphy as London’s strict Muslim father.

The character’s faith adds a complication to the story in ways that go beyond culture clashes. The trailer shows Murphy declaring his affection for the Rev. Louis Farrakhan.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Hill’s Jewish mother, offers a stinging retort after hearing of the patriarch’s affection for the Black Muslim leader:

“I’m familiar with what he said about the Jews,” she snaps.

The spiritual leader is both beloved by some and acknowledged by most as a virulent anti-Semite. It’s hardly up for debate, given what he’s said over the years. The following is courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League:

“Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance, we have to submit to anal sex and all kids of debauchery, and they give you a little part? The couch where you have to sit, it’s called the ‘casting couch.’ That’s Jewish power.” — Speech at Mosque Maryam, Chicago, Illinois, 5/27/18

“You and I are going to have to learn to distinguish between the righteous Jew and the Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.” — Speech at Mosque Maryam, Chicago, Illinois, 5/27/18

“The Jewish media has normalized sexual degeneracy, profanity, and all kinds of sin.” — The Time and What Must Be Done, Part 20: Making Satan Known, 5/25/13

That’s just a sample.

This isn’t the case of a phrase or two being taken out of context. It’s part of a long-standing trend of Farrakhan comments, and it should make audiences wary of Murphy’s character. Yet we know it’s still Eddie Murphy on screen, and for all his flaws we expect he’ll come to embrace Hill’s character by the third act.

Yet the very same woke minds, a subset which includes Hill and Barris, often reject certain character traits and beats due to their problematic nature. Recall the fury faced by fact-based stories of hardened racists who learned the error of their ways?

The Best of Enemies Trailer #1 (2018) | Movieclips Trailers

What about the suggestion that we can no longer embrace “Animal House” because John Belushi’s Bluto sneaks a peek at the local sorority house?

Which is it?

Can storytellers share rich, flawed characters for our consideration? Or should screenwriters carefully vet the figures we see based on wavering woke standards?

Reviews for “You People” have not been kind, although audiences have yet to weigh in en masse. The film shows the value of storytelling without strings, of being able to play a broad array of characters without insisting they conform to select value systems.

Hill owes his career to playing characters who shouldn’t be role models for any self-respecting soul. He’d be better served by both acknowledging that reality and writing movies that reflect reality, not an imagined version of it.

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