The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) decided Thursday, last week, that it must protect viewers from a very funny Monty Python sketch, which parodied Nazis in World War II. That conflict resulted in about 30 million deaths, and was started by Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.
The episode contains racial slurs, so we are taking the episode down while we review it. We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language – BBC.
Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider options for this episode.
In reaction to the BBC-controlled UKTV quarantining the famous episode, the 80-year-old John Cleese branded the move “stupid.”
“One of the things I’ve learned … is that people have very different senses of humor,” the Monty Python member said on Friday.
Some of them understand that if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you’re not broadcasting their views, you’re making fun of them, he said.
Cleese kept after the BBC in a series of comments on Twitter and elsewhere:
It’s not just stupidity, Cleese added.
“The BBC is now run by a mixture of marketing people and petty bureaucrats.
It used to have a large sprinkling of people who’d actually made programs… Not any more. So BBC decisions are made by persons whose main concern is not losing their jobs…That’s why they’re so cowardly and gutless and contemptible.”
The reaction to Cleese was swift. The BBC tweeted the episode will be added back to the streaming service with additional “guidance” that gives viewers a warning about the “offensive language.”
However – by contrast!
In America, media giants don’t seem too concerned by actual Nazi propaganda – glorification that favored their murdering party, and that may inspire today’s advocates of antisemitism and government overthrow.
Why does extolling Hitler and his goons seems nothing to worry about in the upside-down world of NewSpeak, where making fun of evil is evil, but evil itself is okay?
Enter Netflix and a video – Triumph of the Will – I watched over the weekend.
This was a two-hour tribute to the Nazi Party and its deification of Hitler with a cast of hundreds of thousands, and it was not rated, although produced by Nazi propaganda camera crews and director.
Is there suddenly no need for parental warnings when you watch the real glorification of evil?
View for yourself. As an American, I don’t think even this should be censored, but it certainly requires rating of Mature or XXX, plus a warning.. How can the world tolerate this and then censor the incomparable humor of John Cleese?
Who is running Netflix? The ultimate responsibility falls on its Board of Directors, a group with many connections to other companies in entertainment, information and media businesses. The following is gleaned from the company’s description of that board.
Richard Barton, CEO of Zillow Group, leads Netflix’s work “to transform how people buy, sell, rent and finance homes.” Barton co-founded Zillow in 2005, and served as CEO until 2010, when he became the company’s executive chairman. He returned as CEO in early 2019. Before Zillow, Barton founded Expedia within Microsoft in 1994, and successfully spun the company out as a public company in 1999. He served as president, CEO and board director of Expedia from 1999 until 2003. He also co-founded and served as non-executive chairman of Glassdoor from 2007 to 2018. Barton was a venture partner at Benchmark from 2005 until 2018. He’s served on many public company boards and continues to be a board director for Netflix, Qurate, Artsy, and Zillow Group.
Rodolphe Belmer has served as one of the Netflix directors since January 2018. Since March 2016, Belmer has been CEO of Eutelsat, the leading satellite operator in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He previously held several roles at Canal + Group, which he joined in 2001, most recently serving as its CEO from 2012 to 2015. He is also a board member of Brut, a Paris based private company. Belmer began his career in the marketing department of Procter & Gamble France before joining the McKinsey firm in 1998.
Mathias Döpfner is Chairman and CEO and – with 3% ownership – one of the largest shareholders of Axel Springer SE in Berlin, Europe’s leading digital publishing house. Publishing brands include BILD, DIE WELT, BUSINESS INSIDER and POLITICO Europe. He has been with Axel Springer SE since 1998, initially as editor-in-chief of Die Welt and since 2000 as member of the Management Board. Since he became CEO of Axel Springer in 2002, he focused on digital transformation and revenues from those activities increased from €117m to €2.5bn. Earnings Before Interest Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) from digital went up from €-12 to €582m, accounting for 80 percent of the company’s EBITDA. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Warner Music Group, holds honorary offices at, among others, the American Academy, the American Jewish Committee, the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) and the European Publishers Council (EPC).
Timothy M. Haley has served as one of the Netflix directors since June 1998. Haley is a co-founder of Redpoint Ventures, a venture capital firm, and has been a Managing Director of that company since October 1999. Haley has been a Managing Director of Institutional Venture Partners, another venture capital firm, since February 1998. From June 1986 to February 1998, he was the President of Haley Associates, an executive recruiting firm in the high technology industry.
Reed Hastings is co-CEO and co-founder of Netflix in 1997. In 1991, Hastings founded Pure Software, which made tools for software developers. After a 1995 IPO, and several acquisitions, Pure was acquired by Rational Software in 1997. Hastings is an active educational philanthropist and served on the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2004. He is currently on the board of several educational organizations including The City Fund, KIPP, and Pahara.
Jay Hoag has served as one of the Netflix directors since 1999. He has served as a founding General Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures, a venture capital firm, since 1995. Hoag serves on the board of directors of Electronic Arts, Inc., Zillow Group, Inc., TripAdvisor and several private companies, including Peloton. Hoag also serves on the Investment Advisory Committee at the University of Michigan, the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University, and on the Board of Trust at the Vanderbilt University.
Leslie Kilgore served as the Netflix Chief Marketing Officer from 2000 until 2012. From February 1999 to March 2000, Kilgore served as Director of Marketing for Amazon.com, Inc., an Internet retailer. She served as a brand manager for The Procter & Gamble Company, a manufacturer and marketer of consumer products from August 1992 to February 1999. She serves on the boards of Nextdoor (where she is also a member of the comp committee), Pinterest (where she also sits on the audit and compensation committees) and Medallia (where she serves as nominating and governance chair and audit committee member).
Strive Masiyiwa is the Chairman and founder of Econet Group, a telecommunications and technology group with operations and investments in 29 countries, mostly in Africa, and Europe. He is on several international boards including Unilever Plc, National Geographic Society, Asia Society, and the Global Advisory boards of Bank of America, the Council on Foreign Relations (in the US), Stanford University, and the Prince of Wales Trust for Africa, and is a longstanding board member of the United States Holocaust Museum’s Committee on Conscience. A former board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he is Chairman Emeritus of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and African Union Special Envoy to the continent’s COVID response.
Ann Mather has served as a member of Netflix board of directors since 2010. She has also been a member of the board of directors of: Bumble, a location-based social application that facilitates communication between interested users, since 2020; AirBnB, a vacation rental online marketplace company, since 2018; Glu Mobile Inc., a publisher of mobile games, since 2005; Google, Inc. since 2005, and serves as a chair of its audit committee; and Arista Networks, provider of cloud networking services, since 2013, and serves on its audit committee. Mather has also been an independent trustee to the Dodge & Cox Funds board of trustees since 2011. She was previously a director of: Shutterfly; Zappos.com, Inc., a retailer, until it was acquired by Amazon.com, Inc. in 2009; Ariat International, Inc., a privately-held manufacturer of footwear for equestrian athletes, from 2005 to 2012; and MGM Holdings, Inc. (“MGM”, the independent, privately-held motion picture, television, home video and theatrical production and distribution company), from 2010 to 2019. From 1999 to 2004, Mather was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pixar, the computer animation studio. Prior to Pixar, she was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Village Roadshow Pictures. From 1993 to 1999, she held various executive positions at The Walt Disney Company, including Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for its Buena Vista International Theatrical Division.
Ted Sarandos is co-CEO and Chief Content Officer at Netflix, overseeing the acquisition, creation and marketing of all Netflix content including original foreign series, such as Stranger Things, Dark (Germany) La Casa De Papel (Spain), and Sacred Games (India) and original films including To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Bright, and Bird Box and the 3-time Academy Award winning film ROMA. Sarandos has been responsible for all Netflix content operation since 2000, and led the company’s transition into original content production that began in 2013 with the launch of the series House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black. Since then, Netflix originals have received 93 Primetime Emmy wins, six Oscars, and five BAFTA Film Awards including Best Picture. Before Netflix, he was an executive at video distributor ETD and Video City / West Coast Video. Ted also has produced or executive produced several award-winning and critically acclaimed documentaries and independent films, including the Emmy-nominated Outrage and Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and serves on the board of Exploring The Arts, a nonprofit focused on arts in schools. He also serves on the Film Advisory Board for the Tribeca and Los Angeles Film Festivals, is an American Cinematheque board member, an Executive Committee Member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is a trustee of the American Film Institute.
Brad Smith has served as a Netflix director since March 2015. In his role at Microsoft, Smith leads the company’s work on critical issues including privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion. Smith joined Microsoft in 1993 and became general counsel in 2002. He spent three years leading the company’s legal and corporate affairs team in Europe and five years as deputy general counsel responsible for such teams outside the U.S. His area of expertise includes competition law, intellectual property, government surveillance and privacy.
Anne Sweeney has served as one of the Company’s directors since March 2015. Her entertainment experience of three decades included senior roles at the Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Viacom. Prior to January, she oversaw Disney’s cable, broadcast and satellite properties around the world since 2004. Previously, she helped establish and served as Chairman and CEO of the FX Networks, part of the Fox Entertainment Group of 21st Century Fox. Earlier in her career, she has spent more than 12 years working at Viacom’s Nickelodeon network.
These directors should be determining if there are flaws in Netflix, not just in its turgid programming of often dark and obtuse European brain twisters, but in the fundamental issues – including warning parents – and the sensitive – of hate and extremism in their film choices.
If Triumph of the Will doesn’t deserve more warning than the following pallid description by the Netflix team, there is something very sinister at the roots of the organization that needs correction by the above so-very-credentialed board members.
The video is also available on Amazon Prime, eBay and YouTube. Hopefully, the reason for such proliferation is that many outlets are apparently more aWoke than awake.