Looking back, this summer will be defined not only by the pandemic, but also by the surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement — and how our culture reacted to it.
The reality TV world has experienced quite a few shake ups as a result of greater scrutiny on racially insensitive content and the reality personalities who perpetrated racist actions. Bravo, a network that’s chock-full of privileged white people, has scrambled to rise to the moment, addressing its failures in big and small ways.
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One of Bravo’s actions was so small, it may not even have been revealed if not for one eagle-eyed TikTok user. Reality TV lover @thetalkofshame recalled a particular incident in an early episode of Southern Charm, but when they went to pull up the clip, they discovered it had been removed from the Bravo app and video on demand.
As it turns out, four episodes had been taken down — each of which included some form of “racially charged moments” as a spokesperson explained to DailyMail.com. (The clip @thetalkofshame referred to featured former U.S. congressman Arthur Ravenel Jr. joking that he liked to get rid of $5 bills because they had Abraham Lincoln’s face on them. Gross.)
Variety confirmed that the episodes were removed as part of a network-wide review to “flag potentially offensive content.” Most of the episodes will soon be restored on demand, but one episode will be edited to delete a scene in which Kathryn Dennis gave a tour of her family’s plantation to K. Cooper Ray.
In the clip, preserved by @thetalkofshame, Dennis pointed out:
“There’s actually a slave cemetery right over there. No joke.”
Yeah… joking about a slave cemetery would be a pretty messed up thing to do, wouldn’t it?
@thetalkofshameDid ##Bravo think we wouldn’t notice the missing ##SouthernCharm episodes? ##bravotv♬ original sound – thetalkofshame
The question is, if TikTok hadn’t caught on, would Bravo have simply deleted this stuff and moved on, with none of us the wiser? It feels less like they’re making necessary changes and more like they’re covering their tracks.
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And as @thetalkofshame pointed out in another video, taking episodes down in general just doesn’t seem like the best way to address a history of racism on the network. Really, the best thing to do would probably be to not air a show that idealizes the kind of “traditional Southern culture” that white plantation owners represent. Barring that, though, they should face these problematic and uncomfortable moments head on rather than try to sneakily erase them from history.
What do U think, Perezcious readers? How should the world of reality TV handle this kind of problematic content? We’re know there must be a LOT more racist, sexist, homophobic and otherwise offensive moments just waiting to be unearthed…
[Image via Bravo/YouTube]
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