Netflix Pulls 'Little Britain' for Blackface Skits

Netflix has dropped British series Little Britain, citing the sketch show's use of blackface, as per The Daily Mail. The comedy show starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams debuted in 2003 on BBC Three and aired for three seasons in the U.K. HBO also aired an American spinoff in 2008 starring the two lead comedians titled Little Britain USA.

The series, which has also been dropped by BBC's iPlayer and BritBox, featured Walliams in blackface as Desiree DeVere. Lucas and Walliams' Come Fly With Me, which Netflix also removed from its listings Friday, shows Lucas playing a black character named Precious Little. "There's a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review," a spokesperson for the BBC told The Daily Mail. "Times have changed since Little Britain first aired, so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer."

In a 2017 essay for The Big Issue, Lucas himself said he would not play black characters if he was given a second chance at making Little Britain. "If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn't make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn't play black characters," he wrote. "Basically, I wouldn't make that show now. It would upset people."

Lucas said that he made "a more cruel kind of comedy" than he would do now, saying that both society and his personal views have evolved over the years. "There was no bad intent there – the only thing you could accuse us of was greed," he continued. "We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play."

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"Now I think it's lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters," Lucas added. "My aim is to entertain, I don't have any other agenda. And as I've got older, I've become more empathetic, I care more about hurting people."