‘Cops’ and ‘Gone with the Wind’ are cancelled. How do we handle racist TV and films?

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Hollywood execs are rethinking portrayals of police violence onscreen. Photo by Pixabay.

“Cops” has been canceled after more than 30 years. The Paramount Network announced it’s pulling the original police reality show from the air as the nation reexamines police brutality and systemic racism in law enforcement. 

“‘Cops’ is depicting a very crime-ridden society, more so than what is real,” says Diane Hodson, a podcast producer for “Running from Cops.” “And at the same time it’s showing cops as more effective than cops are in real life. It’s a problematic depiction of policing. And one of the key parts to that is it normalized, over the years, bad policing.”

The show’s cancellation is all part of a broader cultural reckoning in the TV and film industry.

This week, HBO Max announced it’s pulling “Gone With The Wind” temporarily from its streaming platform over concerns about how it glorifies slavery and the Confederate South.

“It’s an interesting movie to view as a Black woman from the south,” says Angelica Jade Bastién, a staff writer at Vulture who wrote about what should be done with cinematic monuments to the Confederacy. “It’s, on one hand, one of the most beautifully constructed movies in Hollywood history, but it’s also a stark failure of Hollywood's liberalism, which approaches Black people in a very dehumanizing way even when they think they're helping, which you can see in ‘Gone with The Wind.’ It take out the violence of slavery, replacing Black people with the image of grinning fools who love institution.”

She has complicated thoughts about the film, but ultimately, she recommends watching it.

“It’s a very seductive story,” says Jade Bastién. “I think it’s also a very constructive one about Hollywood’s fault, so that’s why I think it’s worth seeing.”

Credits

Guests:
Diane Hodson - podcast producer, “Running from Cops”, Angelica Jade Bastién - Vulture - @angelicabastien

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes