• Category: Latest News
  • Written by Rick Ellis

Netflix Permanently Pulls Four Chris Lilley Shows Over Racial Depictions

Netflix has pulled four programs from Australian comedian Chris Lilley from its Australian and New Zealand services. The programs were originally produced by Princess Pictures for public broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "Angry Boys," "Summer Heights High," "We Can Be Heroes" and "Jonah From Tonga." All of the shows feature Lilley appearing on camera playing characters in black or brownface.

Two other programs featuring Lilley remain on the the streaming service:  "Ja'mie: Private School Girl" and Netflix original "Lunatics." The latter show was controversial in Australia when it was released in 2019, because one of the characters Lilley portrays - a South African woman named Jana - has a large Afro and deeply tanned skin.

In response to the criticism, the show’s producer Laura Waters tweeted out an explanation of his appearance: Correcting some confusion – in the new show Lunatics, Chris Lilley is not portraying a woman of colour. When the series is released you will see that Jana is a white woman with huge 70s-style curly hair.

"Lunatics" is currently available on Netflix U.S.

Netflix declined to provide a statement on the decision, but The UK's Guardian reports that the move is permanent for the Australia and New Zealand platforms.

These removals are not the first shows Netflix has removed from its service due to concerns over characters appearing in blackface. Bith "The Mighty Boosh" and "The League of Gentlemen" have recently been removed from Netflix UK.