Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Chicago Jesse Jackson says he's pleased the producers of "Barbershop" have apologized for the film's barbs about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and others, but he still wants the jokes cut from future DVD and video editions of the hit movie.
The producers, Bob Teitel and George Tillman, told The Associated Press on Monday that they had apologized to Jackson on behalf of everyone involved with the film.
"I completely did not mean to offend anyone," Tillman said.
But Jackson said they must go further and remove those scenes from the video, DVD and cable versions.
"The apology is a step in the right direction," he told the AP, but added that he will "keep appealing to them" to do the right thing.
In the film, Cedric the Entertainer plays an old, cantankerous barber who jokes about King's alleged promiscuity.
The character also says other blacks refused to give up their seats to whites in the segregated south, but that Rosa Parks got the credit because she was connected to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He also directs an expletive at Jackson.
The character is immediately condemned by others in the barbershop for being disrespectful.
"The producers and writers, we wanted one individual in the shop saying something funny, and we wanted everyone to disagree with that person," Tillman explained.
However, Jackson said he had spoken to King's widow, Coretta Scott King, and son, Martin Luther King III, as well as the Parks family and other civil rights leaders and that they "feel highly insulted" by the jokes.
He said the film was "trying to turn tragedy into comedy."
But he said "the apology is an admission and a recognition that they knew they were wrong."