Four Chris Lilley shows have been permanently removed from Netflix

Australian actor and writer Chris Lilley is famous, or perhaps infamous, for his satire TV shows.

Four of them have just been canned from Netflix as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jonah from Tonga
Photo – Rex/Shutterstock

Following years of complaints for stereotyped satire and use of blackface, Logie Award Winner Chris Lilley has had four shows removed from Netflix.

Chris Lilley’s satire is well known across Australia, and was especially popular in the 2000s. Iconic characters like Jonah Takalua and Mr. G have lines that undoubtedly caught on across high schools all around the country. “Puck you miss” and coffee coffee coffee before we teachy teachy” instantly come to mind. But here’s the controversy: Across his performances, Chris Lilley plays both white and black characters. He generally relies on tropes and cliches to present his comedy. Even though it’s satire, and likely does not mean to undermine or misrepresent minorities, the witty one-liners can’t hide today’s clear truth. When Chris Lilley picks an accent and uses makeup to make his face brown, he joins a part of politics that he is against.

For this reason, alongside the much-needed protests against racial injustice and police brutality, Netflix have acted. They’ve removed We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Jonah From Tonga, and Angry Boys from the platform. These shows were chosen as they feature Lilley playing characters of colour.

For authenticity and more developed, grounded satire, it might be wiser for Lilley to stick to characters of his own race.

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