NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The entertainment world is taking note of the marches to end racial injustice that are happening all over the country, and also making some changes.
One of the biggest movies of all-time has been temporarily pulled, and some popular shows have been canceled, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Thursday.
Austin, Texas police body cameras were rolling during the 2019 arrest of Javier Ambler, while officers chased and Tased him after he allegedly failed to dim his headlights.
“I have congestive heart failure,” he told the officers.
One of A&E Network’s top-rated shows, “Live PD,” caught everything on camera, but never released the footage and destroyed it.
On Wednesday, the network canceled the show.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD. Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments,” A&E said in a statement.
An autopsy says Ambler died due to a combination of his heart condition and forcible restraint. Ambler’s sister is also blaming Live PD.
“They wanted drama and it led to someone’s life being taken,” Kimberly Moore said.
Live PD host Dan Abrams said he’s upset the show was canceled before it was given a chance to make changes.
“I think that we were preparing to have discussions about ways we could incorporate some of this recent activity, positive activity, positive change,” Abrams said.
The long-running docuseries “Cops” has also been canceled in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody.
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Hollywood and the entertainment industry are seemingly answering the call for racial justice.
HBO Max temporarily removed 1939 classic “Gone With the Wind,” and vowed to bring it back in original form, but with historical context and denouncement of its racist depictions.
Several streaming services lifted their paywall for documentaries, series and movies highlighting black lives.
However, Mia Mask, who teaches African American cinema as a professor at Vassar College, said those are predictable moves.
“Some folks penalized for actions that they’ve taken, or films and content being pulled, is not, itself, amounting to substantive change,” Mask said. “We see a lot of political tumult, activism, unrest, but when things calm down they go back to doing business as usual.”
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Marcia Pendelton, founder of Walk Tall Girl Productions, has worked with many who signed the letter. She said their message outweighs the risk.
“They’re putting their careers on the line in a very, very big way,” Pendelton said.
She added fundamental change comes with putting more black people in decision-making roles.
“That you’re hiring people in your executive offices, that you’re hiring people to be your show runners, that you’re hiring people to create the content,” Pendelton said.
Poet Kevin Young, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, said the entertainment industry can do better by telling stories about black America that are often left untold.
“Folks are protesting for black lives and their safety, but also their representation, their fullness, their joy,” Young said. “How do we not just talk about survival, but about thriving?”
And to make sure the conversation doesn’t end here.