Channel 4 says ¡®erasing creative history is not a quick fix¡¯ amid removals of shows with blackface
Critics say removal of problematic TV shows from streaming platforms is an ¡®arbitrary gesture¡¯ that does little to combat racism
The scene, which appears in the season two episode ¡°Dance Class¡±, first aired on Channel 4 in 2004 and sees Jez (Robert Webb) try to impress love interest Nancy (Rachel Blanchard) by breaking ¡°sexual taboos¡±, including wearing blackface.
Jez questions the ethics of wearing blackface, saying that it ¡°feels almost wrong¡± before asking, ¡°Are you sure this isn¡¯t racist?¡±, leading Nancy to reply, ¡°We¡¯re breaking a taboo, of course, it feels wrong,¡± and later add, ¡°Jeremy, I come from America. I¡¯ve seen the problems race brings up.¡±
The scene has been cut from the sitcom on Netflix, but is yet to be removed from Channel 4¡¯s own catch-up service All4.
When asked by Newsweek whether Channel 4 would remove the scene, the broadcaster said it currently has no plans to do so.
A spokesperson told the publication many of the shows in their archive "reflect the time they were made and some contain content which could now be regarded as inappropriate".
They added: "We understand the strong feelings provoked by some of this content but we do not believe that erasing our creative history is a quick fix for the issues affecting our society today.
¡°Channel 4 is committed to inclusion and diversity and opposes discrimination in any form and therefore, having reflected deeply on this subject, we are undertaking a review of the principles governing how we handle historic programmes across our platforms."
The network did, however, recently remove comedy Bo' Selecta! from its All4 streaming service, which featured white comedian Leigh Francis play characters such as Craig David and Michael Jackson.
The removal of the Peep Show scene from Netflix comes after the platform removed The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen because of their use of blackface, with critics calling the move an ¡°arbitrary gesture¡± that does little to combat racism. Others argue that continuing to air these programmes perpetuates negative racial stereotypes.