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MGM Is Mum About <I>Barbershop</I> Protest

25 Sep, 2002 By: Joan Villa

MGM Home Entertainment is staying mum over whether it will trim the DVD version of its comedy Barbershop to cut jokes that have offended some civil-rights leaders.

However, the studio has issued a statement implying no changes are warranted since the comments about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were made in the spirit of the film, which stars Ice Cube and has generated $40 million at the box office in two weeks.

“For the characters in the film and in that place, no subject is off limits, and the filmmakers were trying to be true to that,” the MGM statement read. “No one else in the film agrees with him, and it's not an opinion shared by the film itself, the filmmakers or MGM Pictures.”

Jesse Jackson, however, complained to USA Today that the lampooning of civil-rights leaders should be removed from the DVD version.

“There are some heroes who are sacred to a people, and these comments poison an otherwise funny movie,” Jackson said.

In the film, Cedric the Entertainer plays an old-time barber in Cube's Chicago shop who disputes sacred cows, claiming that Parks' revered civil-rights role of refusing to give up her seat on a bus was because she was tired, not a champion.

The writer, the director and the producers apologized for the flap and said they intended no disrespect or offense.

“It was never our intent to upset anyone going to see the film,” they said in a statement.

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