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Free Speech & Cancel Culture

2021: Oct-Dec

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Updated: Ernie, the fastest trigger warning in the west...

Benny Hill returns to British TV complete with the inevitable PC trigger warnings and cuts

Link Here30th December 2021
The Benny Hill Show is a 1969-89 UK TV comedy series
Starring Benny Hill, Henry McGee and Jackie Wright IMDb

A sketch-comedy series in which Hill would often play multiple characters and satirize popular British and American performers and stars. Common themes in the show were the husband-beating wife, buxom women, and silent, high-speed chase scenes between Hill and the other characters.

That's TV Gold channel is currently re-showing edited versions of The Benny Hill Show in the That's Entertainment slot with a warning at the beginning to the effect that This show contains outdated opinions that some people may find offence.

Surely by now people know what to expect from this show and if are offended by such humour they shouldn't watch it.

The Warriors is a 1979 US action thriller by Walter Hill
Starring Michael Beck, James Remar and Dorsey Wright Melon Farmers link  BBFC link 2020  IMDb

Exists as a Theatrical Version and a Director's Cut.

Cyrus, the leader of the most powerful gang in New York City, the Gramercy Riffs, calls a midnight summit for all the area gangs, with all asked to send nine unarmed representatives for the conclave. A gang called The Warriors are blamed for killing Cyrus as he gives his speech. They now have to cross the territory of rivals in order to get to their own 'hood. The Warriors slowly cross the dangerous Bronx and Manhattan territories, narrowly escaping police and other gangs every step of the way.

  The theatrical version of The Warriors on Channel 31 (Five*) has suffered some dialogue cuts, some minor ones for swearing, but the main one being a potential offensive word...

Ajax: What's the matter...going FAGGOT?

As a fan of old films and TV and a product of a certain generation it still manages to irk me whenever this happens, as constant pandering to certain lobby groups can only embolden them to continue their misguided agenda to make everything they disagree with obsolete.

I say live and let live and if you don't like what you see, do t watch it but let those who enjoy such things to do so.

Update: Black-face

13th December. Thanks to Philip

Earlier on tonight I was watching yet another edited episode of The Benny Hill Show and came across yet another trigger warning.

This was for Black-Face and featured a hospital sketch where in one scene Benny gets multiple bed-baths from a sexy nurse by disguising himself by various methods (Bandages, false moustache made from a broom etc.) One of which used a mop head and a tin of shoe polish as the patient was a Rastafarian. Benny is caught out however as he forgot to boot-polish something, much to the nurses confusion and shock.

Update: Pinch yourselves

30th December. Thanks to Philip

Just been watching The Benny Hill Show on channel 7 and have just noted a deliberate censorial cut.

There was a sketch where Benny Hill is playing vicar and is being interviewed by Patricia Hayes where they talk about a bishop who Benny's character knew.

At the end of the sketch the light fades but not the sound and the two can be heard talking. Hayes mentioned that when she interviewed the bishop last he pinched her bum but not in this version and there is a very noticeable pictorial and sound cut in the sketch.

As there have been warnings prior to the programme starting, wouldn't it have been better to leave the sketch intact?



German engineering precision failure...

Mercedes-Benz advert has Chinese eye angle set at 1 milliRadian above the tolerance defined as politically correct

Link Here30th December 2021
Mercedes-Benz has removed an ad featuring a Chinese model over a slanted eye deemed to be too steep.

Chinese social media has been engrossed in a debate over ads supposedly imposing Western beauty ideals for Asian women, including the usage of makeup to create stereotypical slanted eyes.

Mercedes-Benz has reportedly removed a recent video advertisement published on Chinese social network Weibo after the brand was criticized for doing up a model's face to give her exaggerated sloping eyes.

The Chinese Communist Party's Global Times reported on a hashtag that translates to Mercedes-Benz model's makeup is controversial had gained over 170 million views on Weibo.

The premise is that Chinese cannot let the West shape our aesthetics, wrote one critic, per Global Times. For those malicious slanderers, we should maintain sufficient vigilance and counter-attack.




Advert censor bans recruitment advert over 'blackface'

Link Here13th December 2021

A post on recruiter JD Recruitment's Facebook page, seen on 5 October 2021, featured details about a Branch Manager position. An image embedded in the post showed a woman covered in black paint, wearing bold red lipstick and an open leather jacket, licking her lips and covering her breasts with her left hand.

  1. The complainant, who believed the ad featured a woman in blackface, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious offence.

  2. The ASA challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious offence because the image objectified the woman.

JD Recruitment Group Ltd said that they had not intended to cause any offence with the image and had used it to provide a striking visual image along with the subject matter of the post -- a job opportunity in the Blackburn area. They said that, on reflection, they could see how the image might have caused offence, and objectified the woman depicted, and that they would ensure they were more aware of the issues raised in future marketing communications.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

1. Upheld

The CAP Code required marketers to ensure that ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, with particular care to be taken to avoid causing offence on various grounds of protected characteristics, including race.

The ASA noted that the woman shown was covered in black paint, with bold red lipstick, and the whites of the woman's eyes were prominent, contrasted against the black paint. We considered that imagery shared strong similarities with blackface makeup, which had historic connotations with mocking portrayals of black people. We understood that was a negative racial stereotype and was widely considered to be racist in nature.

We therefore considered its use in the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race and concluded the ad breached the Code.

2. Upheld

We noted that the post was for a job vacancy, and the image of a partially topless woman bore no relation to the listing being advertised. We considered that the pose was suggestive in nature, with the woman depicted licking her lips suggestively and covering her exposed breasts with her hand. We considered that the ad was likely to have the effect of objectifying the woman by using her physical features to draw attention to an unrelated job listing. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to have caused serious offence.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told JD Recruitment Group Ltd to ensure they avoided causing serious offence on the grounds of race. We also told them not to portray women in a manner that objectified them and was likely to cause serious offence.




Macron criticises the European Commission for trying to impose politically correct language

Link Here9th December 2021
French president Emmanuel Macron has criticised the European Commission for its woke nonsense a week after it withdrew controversial politically correct language rules following an outcry from politicians. Macron said in a speech that the commission should focus on recovery, power and belonging. He said:

A Europe that comes to explain to people what words they should or shouldn't say is not a Europe to which I totally adhere. It's nonsense, basically.

Macron added that the sense of European identity had withered away in France as well as European nations.

His scathing attack came a week after the European Commission pulled back from an internal PC language guide which advised officials to use inclusive language such as holiday season rather than Christmas and use gender-neutral terms instead of man-made and ladies and gentlemen.



More trigger warnings...

The BBFC respond to a public opinion survey by promising more carefully manufactured PC wording in its ratings info

Link Here3rd December 2021

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has commissioned new research into racism and discrimination in films and TV shows, asking people, including those who have been directly affected, their views into the classification of such scenes, in both modern and older content.

Findings showed that people don't think that older films and TV shows necessarily need higher age ratings if they contain outdated behaviour or language, but they want to be warned about potentially offensive words or portrayals.

People understand that some older films and TV shows are a 'product of their time', but it's clear that attitudes have shifted over the years.

When it comes to a more current setting, the findings showed the 'n word' should not be classified lower than 12A/12 - unless there is very clear and strong educational value, for example, in a documentary with strong appeal or value to younger audiences.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:

"We must always assess the context in which content appears, especially with regards to the factors that may support a higher classification or help defend a lower one. Violent and threatening behaviour, or use of particularly offensive language, will always aggravate an instance of discriminatory or racist behaviour. However, clear condemnation, sympathy with the victims, or a documentary or historical setting can all work to help frame the sequence and potentially give the content educational value for younger viewers."

The research found that some people, particularly parents, believe there is value in showing children examples of racism and discrimination to 'prepare' them for the behaviour and attitudes they may experience or witness in real life. But others want to shield children from racism and discrimination for as long as possible. People, especially parents, therefore want content warnings so they can make informed decisions.

People are empathetic towards others, recognising that even if they are not personally offended by a certain term or behaviour, they acknowledge others may be - again highlighting the need for content warnings on films and TV shows.

Lord Kamlesh Patel, Vice President of the BBFC, said:

"Movements dedicated to raising awareness and combatting discrimination and racism have gained important traction in the last two years. In response, we wanted to see how this has impacted the views of people in the UK, and particularly to hear from and listen to those who have been directly impacted by discrimination and racism as their voices are important. We recognise that our role isn't just about protecting children from harmful content, it's about helping parents who might want to use depictions of discrimination and racism as a potential teaching moment."

Changes the BBFC are making off the back of this research:

  • adopting an even stricter position on the classification of the 'n-word' at the junior categories

  • placing significant emphasis on the educational value of documentary contexts, which might result in a documentary getting a lower age rating

  • being particularly mindful of the intent within the scene when classifying older films and TV shows

  • continuing to consider directed, aggressive or violent depictions of discrimination, or the likelihood of children copying any form of racism, including racist language, as key factors which might raise an age rating

  • continuing to use ratings info to signal when discriminatory language or behaviour is contained in a film or TV show

  • Using the phrase 'an actor in make-up portraying a different ethnicity' when describing assumed racial identities

About the research:

  • 70 participants took part in online research sessions, and were asked to watch clips and answer questions about them.

  • 20 respondents were asked to participate in interviews to dig deeper into specific issues.

  • When defining the sample we intentionally over-represented a number of minority groups (e.g. Black) in order to understand the perception/impact of discriminatory content on those most directly affected by it.

  • Over 70% of the final sample identify as among protected characteristic groups, with some participants being part of more than one group

  • We Are Family also recruited a nationally representative group; but the overall sample does not reflect the demographic make-up of the UK population overall. During analysis this has been taken into account, and we have tried to identify and pull out insight that best reflects the attitudes of the majority, and as such is reflective of the BBFC's commitment to represent and reflect the UK population.

Offsite Comment: smacks of paternalism

3rd December 2021. See article from by Simran Hans

It is troubling that the British Board of Film Classification believes its role includes judging art on the lessons it imparts



More distracting than domestic violence...

ASA bans Gold and Goblins game advert for trivialising domestic violence

Link Here22nd November 2021

An in-app ad for the mobile app game Gold and Goblins, seen in the Hooked Inc: Fishing Games and Quizzland apps on 17 September 2021, included a video of a woman playing a game on her mobile phone, while behind her a man picked up a chair and drew it back over his head as if to strike the woman with it. The ad then showed the man looking at the phone over the woman's shoulder as she continued to play.

Two complainants, who considered the ad encouraged domestic violence, challenged whether it was offensive and socially irresponsible. Response

AppQuantum Publishing Ltd said they would immediately stop running the ad across all their platforms. They said they had intended the ad to be humorous in nature, and apologised for any offence it might have caused.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA acknowledged AppQuantum's willingness to remove the ad.

The ad depicted a man about to assault a woman, and we considered that consumers would understand from the context of the setting that it was because her attention was focused on the game she was playing, rather than on the man.

We considered that such a reference used in an ad for a mobile app game trivialised and condoned the serious and sensitive subject of domestic violence. This was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and we considered the ad had not been prepared in a socially responsible manner.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told AppQuantum Publishing Ltd not to trivialise or condone domestic violence in its advertising.



Casting out history...

The National Gallery removes a promotional picture with caricatures of jews

Link Here28th October 2021
The National Gallery has removed a picture from an upcoming major exhibition from its website over claims of antisemitic portrayal of Jews.

Albrecht Dürer's Christ Among the Doctors from 1509 depicts a story from the Gospel according to Luke of Jesus on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, alongside a caricature of Jewish men from the synagogue.

The National Gallery had initially displayed the artwork prominently on its website advertising the upcoming exhibition without mentioning its portrayal of Jews. After the gallery was alerted to the fact by Jewish News reader Ralph Harris, it removed the picture online and highlighted the antisemitic representation in its gallery. A spokesperson said:

We are aware that the representation of the Doctors may cause offence and both the wall texts and the audio guide in the exhibition will acknowledge and address caricature and antisemitic portrayal in the painting.

We have removed the image and accompanying text from our online gallery of selected exhibited works as we felt that in this format there was not adequate space for the interpretation required for this work.



Civil rights abuses, censorship and persecution...

Met police investigate Crystal Palace fans over their criticisms of the Saudi regime taking over Newcastle United

Link Here 23rd October 2021
Police are investigating a banner unveiled by Crystal Palace fans before Saturday's football match with Newcastle.

The banner, depicting an image of Newcastle's new Saudi Arabian owners, PIF, about to behead a magpie as faceless fans in the background sang: We've got our club back, was unfurled by Palace supporters at Selhurst Park.

As well as the Premier League's chief executive, Richard Masters, giving a thumbs-up to a bag of money, it also listed offences that human rights organisations say the Saudi regime is responsible for, with a tick next to each one: terrorism, beheadings, civil rights abuse, murder, persecution and censorship.

A statement released by the Holmesdale Fanatics supporters group later said the Premier League had chosen money over morals in allowing the takeover.

A subsequent post from the official Croydon Metropolitan Police Twitter account read:

On Saturday 23 October police received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans. Officers are assessing the information and carrying out enquiries. Any allegations of racist abuse will be taken very seriously.

Offsite Comment: Listen, it is not racist to criticise Saudi Arabia

23rd October 2021. See article from by Brendan O'Neill



Professors of crystalline precipitation...

Ludicrous academics generate trigger warnings for classic books from a bygone era

Link Here23rd October 2021
Classic children's books in a Cambridge University archive will in future be labelled with trigger warnings for content relating to slavery, colonialism and racism.

Researchers are reviewing more than 10,000 books and magazines for authors from a previous era who have not referenced enslaved or colonised or denigrated people in the right away according to modern day mores.

The archive at Cambridge's Homerton College is being reviewed as part of a move to upload texts to a digital library. In online versions, words, phrases and images deemed harmful will be flagged and content warnings placed at the beginning of each text.

Targeted authors include Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote Little House On The Prairie , for her stereotypical depictions of Native Americans.

Another is Dr Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of the Dr Seuss books, for overt blackface and cultural insensitivities.

The Water Babies , Charles Kingsley's 1863 children's classic about a young chimney sweep, is described as having the potential to harm readers without warning for comments about Irish and black people.

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