"Dubious, if not outright offensive"
Sky News reports that UK film censors have added a racial stereotype warning to Flash Gordon.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) took issue to the 1980’s film due to its Asian character Ming the Merciless.
Ming was “coded as an East Asian character due to his hair and make-up” but was played by the late Swedish actor Max von Sydow.
BBFC senior policy officer Matt Tindall said of the character, “he’s played by a Swedish actor in the film, he’s played by Max von Sydow, which I don’t think is something that would happen if this were a modern production.”
Tindall added that this is something that viewers “may find dubious, if not outright offensive.”
“Let’s just say that attitudes towards the acceptability of discriminatory racial stereotypes have moved on considerably since then and rightly so, of course,” he continued.
BBFC has thus added a warning due to “potential it has to cause offence” for the film.
“This is something that we have to bear in mind often when we see older films coming in for reclassification, films that might contain discriminatory depictions or stereotypes that are not acceptable to modern audiences, including films where discrimination wasn’t the work’s intent, just a reflection of the period in which it was made” he said.
“And this is an issue that we’re currently planning to explore more through research next year.”
In October, Disney+ strengthened its disclaimer for its classic films including Lady And The Tramp and The Aristocats.
Last year, the service attached warnings on a number of classic Disney films regarding “outdated cultural depictions”.