Breakfast At Tiffany Censorship Claims Channel 5 Axis All Scenes Featuring Mr Yunioshi
Breakfast At Tiffany Censorship Claims Channel 5 Axis All Scenes Featuring Mickey Rooney’s ‘Racist’ Character Mr Yunioshi
- Breakfast At Tiffany’s is at the center of a censorship row with Channel 5
- Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of the Japanese character Mr Yunioshi has long been condemned as racist, but critics say the decision to cut the role is ‘dangerous’
- Rooney wore ‘yellowface’ make-up, horse teeth and taped eyes for the role
- Channel 5 admitted to cutting the film but declined to comment further
It’s a two-time Oscar-winning classic of American cinema that defined Audrey Hepburn’s reputation as a screen icon.
But now Breakfast At Tiffany’s is at the center of a censorship row after Channel 5 cut all scenes featuring Mickey Rooney.
His portrayal of the Japanese character Mr Yunioshi has long been condemned as racist, but critics say the broadcaster’s decision to cast the entire role on the cutting room floor was a “dangerous” rewrite of history.
Rooney wore “yellowface” makeup and horse teeth, scooted his eyes and spoke the lines with an exaggerated accent for the role of Holly Golightly owner of Hepburn.
Rooney wore ‘yellowface’ make-up and horse teeth, taped his eyes and delivered the lines with an exaggerated accent for the role of Holly Golightly owner of Hepburn
He was considered a crude caricature even when the film was released in 1961. Broadcasters including Sky have in recent years slapped a content warning on the film before airing it, but Channel 5 completely exorcised Rooney,
Monty Python star turned director Terry Gilliam criticized the decision.
“Censorship seems to be a growing industry in Britain these days, but removing character scenes from films that had already survived the critical eye of former official censors seems absurd and dangerous,” he said. declared. “Who are the new censors? Who gave them the right to play boules?
Hepburn’s son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, a successful film producer, said: ‘You have to look at it from people’s point of view then.
“That’s the big problem today. Everything is considered within the framework of a life… as if we were the most important point in the story. The movie is what it is and you should put a disclaimer at the beginning that it was made in 1961 and those were the decisions made at the time.
Removing Rooney’s character has the effect of removing one of Golightly’s most famous lines. When she locks herself out of her building, she wakes up Mr. Yunioshi by ringing her buzzer. With his annoyed response gone, Golightly also said, “Don’t be mad, dear little man. I won’t do it again. If you promise not to be mad, I could let you take the pictures we talked about.
Rooney’s character ax has the effect of removing one of Golightly’s famous lines
Other footage of Rooney has been deleted from a sequence in which Golightly emerges from his bathroom window to escape an unwanted admirer. In the original, she begins her escape in a party dress before changing into a bathrobe. In the version aired earlier this month by Channel 5, however, Golightly is already in the dress.
Other scenes featuring Mr. Yunioshi on the phone, in the bath, and watching Golightly’s arrest were also removed.
Even when the film was released, Rooney’s portrayal drew criticism, which grew over the years. Recent commentators have called it one of the most offensive portrayals of an Asian character ever seen on the big screen.
Before his death in 2014, Rooney admitted he would have played the role differently if he had known the anger it would spark.
The film’s director, Blake Edwards, who died in 2010, agreed, once saying, “Looking back, I wish I had never done it.” I would give anything to be able to recast it, but it is there…’
Breakfast At Tiffany’s is listed in the US National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” but not everyone is enthusiastic.
Sir Richard Eyre, former director of the National Theatre, said: ‘It’s terrible apart from Audrey Hepburn. Mickey Rooney’s performance was ridiculously offensive. The best would be to burn the film.
Channel 5 said it made the cuts but declined to comment further.