MGM won't trim ''Barbershop'' despite boycott threat
Last weekend, MGM tried to distance itself from the barbs in ”Barbershop” that poke fun at such civil rights icons as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. The distributor of what has been the top box-office draw since its release two weeks ago said in a statement that the jokes were ”one character’s opinion” (that of Cedric the Entertainer’s cantankerous barber Eddie) and added, ”It’s not an opinion shared by the film itself, the filmmakers or MGM Pictures.” On Wednesday, however, MGM said it would not bow to pressure to cut the offending lines from the video release; in fact, the studio said, it’s already planning a sequel.
Earlier this week, civil rights activist Al Sharpton joined Jesse Jackson in criticizing the film; Jackson had said that, while he dismissed the movie’s jokes making fun of himself, he’d heard complaints from the King and Parks families and urged the studio to snip the barbs from the eventual home video. Variety reports that Sharpton threatened to call for a boycott if MGM did not apologize by Friday and promise to trim the jokes from the VHS and DVD versions of ”Barbershop.”
But the studio issued a statement saying, ”MGM stands behind ‘Barbershop,’ its filmmakers, and artists, and we have no intention of altering the film in any way.” The statement also said, ”We’re proud to have made a movie with such a positive and uplifting overall message that audiences throughout the U.S. have embraced. The filmmakers obviously struck a winning chord with critics and audiences alike, and we are already at work on the sequel.” No word on whom Cedric’s Eddie plans to insult in the sequel.