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UPDATE: No DVD Cuts for <I>Barbershop</I>

26 Sep, 2002 By: Joan Villa

After days of silence, MGM Pictures now says it will not trim the DVD version of its comedy Barbershop to cut jokes that have offended civil rights leaders.

"MGM stands behind Barbershop, its filmmakers, and artists, and we have no intention of altering the film in any way," the studio said in a statement released today. "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."

Since its release Sept. 13, Barbershop, starring Ice Cube, has generated more than $40 million at the box office.

Earlier this week, the studio issued a different statement defending the film and implying that no changes were warranted, but it did not say whether it would bow to pressure from Jesse Jackson and other leaders to cut offending lines from the video release. The studio's position was that comments about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were made in the spirit of the film.

“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,” said the original MGM statement. “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.”

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

Cedric the Entertainer, playing a grizzly old barber in Cube's Chicago shop, mutters a variety of offhanded opinions including that OJ Simpson was guilty, Rodney King deserved to be beaten, and Parks' revered role in the civil rights struggle 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.

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