As the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gains momentum across the globe, entertainment platforms like Showmax are forced to disinfect their content of any signs of racism.
As a result, Leon Schuster, one of South Africa’s most successful yet divisive entertainers has come under scrutiny.
Although it was initially reported by some news wires that all of Schuster’s films had been scrapped by Showmax, the networks head of communications, Richard Boorman told The Citizen this was not accurate.
“We removed Leon Schuster content as a precautionary measure, pending a review to ensure there is no racially insensitive material.
“This is part of a wider review of content on Showmax – it’s something happening in parallel with reviews by streaming services worldwide,” Boorman said.
In an interview with Netwerk24 on Monday, Schuster, who is recognised as a staple of local comedy, said that he was shocked at having his films removed from Showmax, adding that he had made them “innocently”.
South Africans are known for our ability to laugh at ourselves and to make light of what others deem serious subjects, and this comes through on the flurry of social media reactions to the Showmax announcement.
Weighing in on the fray was funny-man and long-time Schuster muse, Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela.
“They say my friend is racist, but if you would check his movies are full of South Africans. And that means that he’s proud of us being united and one, these movies were made for us to laugh and to show that we proudly South Africans,” he said on Instagram.
And fans of Schuster and Ntombela leapt to their defence with Instagram user ysterbonita saying: “People are so unnecessary!!!!.. In these tragic times, we need something to cheer us up!!!. @official_leon_schuster you are a living legend. I [am] 110% behind you!!!! Mr ntomebela you are an Amazing friend to @official_leon_schuster dankie kealeboga ngiyabonga we need more people like YOU!!!!”
For now, we eagerly await Showmax’s decision on whether Schuster stays or goes and how their decision will affect their viewer numbers.