The filmmakers behind the upcoming historical documentary Painted Down, a film that highlights the once-common practice of painting white stuntmen in black makeup to double for African-American performers, have withdrawn their support for comedian Bill Cosby and cut him from their film.
The news was first reported by Deadline. Producer Nonie L. Robinson confirmed the decision.
“We have supported Mr. Cosby and stood by him,” said Robinson, noting that she issued a letter of support for the comedian and activist back in November. “But after all the insurmountable evidence along with the deposition, we felt it was the best thing to do. We do not support abuse in any way.”
According to Robinson, Cosby was an instrumental advocate for the eradication of the “paint down” process after witnessing it on his hit 1960s television show I Spy. Before he saw the practice in action on the set, every studio in town used white stunt performers and painted them in black makeup to double for black actors.
“He was one of the first to really open the door for African-American stunt performers,” said Robinson, whose grandfather was Richard Pryor’s main stunt double. “That is a fact.”
Robinson’s film, which is being directed by Marques Miles, is currently in post-production, eyeing entrance into the Sundance Film Festival. Cosby’s interview originally comprised about 10 minutes of the 120-minute documentary, but now neither the actor nor I Spy will be featured in the finished piece.
“Even though it is a part of history and there isn’t anything we can do to take away what he did for stunt performers, at the same time we can no longer glorify it in light of these allegations,” she said, adding that the goal of the project is to “bring awareness” to the antiquated practice of “Paint Down,” which she says still occurs today.
And now, it seems omitting Cosby from the documentary has done just that.
You can watch the Cosby-free trailer for the movie below.