Matt Lucas & David Walliams Apologize For 'Little Britain' Blackface: "It Was Wrong And We Are Very Sorry"
Matt Lucas and David Walliams have apologized for their use of blackface on Little Britain and Come Fly with Me. Read the statement they made after the shows were pulled from streaming services this week.
Matt Lucas and David Walliams have once again expressed regrets about portraying "characters of other races" on Little Britain and Come Fly with Me.
Lucas and Walliams were drawn into the spotlight this week when Netflix, BBC, and BritBox removed the two British series from their streaming services.
In statements released earlier in the week, both the BBC and BritBox emphasized that times have changed since Little Britain aired, referencing the show's problematic use of blackface.
Little Britain: Matt Lucas and David Walliams apologize for blackface use
On Saturday, Lucas and Walliams addressed this renewed press about the controversial content on their programs. The co-creators and stars of Little Britain (2003-2005) and Come Fly with Me (2010-2011) released a shared apology on both of their Twitter accounts.
"[We] have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong and we are very sorry," the statement read.
Matt & I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong & we are very sorry.— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) June 13, 2020
David and I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong and we are very sorry.— realmattlucas (@RealMattLucas) June 13, 2020
In the tweets, the comedians referenced interviews they've given in recent years that renounced the extreme qualities of their past TV programs.
Walliams wore blackface for multiple roles in Little Britain, while Lucas did for one in addition to portraying a caricatured Thai woman on the show. Full blackface also featured in the show's follow-up, Come Fly with Me.
"If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn't make those jokes about transvestites," Lucas told The Guardian in 2017. "I wouldn't play black characters."
"Basically, I wouldn't make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I'd do now.
"Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. There was no bad intent there – the only thing you could accuse us of was greed. We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play," he explained.
Black Lives Matter movement prompts reflection on race in media
Lucas and Walliams's satires are among many that have come under the microscope in the aftermath of George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter protests.
While streamers have temporarily removed other media — such as Gone with the Wind and an episode of John Cleese's Fawlty Towers — only to return them with a message of warning, Little Britain and Come Fly with Me have been lifted permanently.