Netflix pull four Chris Lilley shows over depiction of race

'We Can Be Heroes', 'Summer Heights High', 'Angry Boys' and 'Jonah From Tonga' have been removed from the service

Netflix has removed four of Chris Lilley’s programs from its library, due to concerns over their depiction of race. Lilley’s programs We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys and Jonah From Tonga have been pulled from the streaming service.

Variety reports that the shows have been removed from the site “permanently”.

Chris Lilley has faced criticism for his depictions of race in the past. In Angry Boys, he portrayed an African-American rapper, S.mouse, using blackface makeup. His portrayal of Japanese mother, Jen Okazaki, in the series caused further controversy.


The Australian comedian also used brown makeup to portray Jonah Takalua in Summer Heights High and Jonah From Tonga. In his first series, We Can Be Heroes, Lilley portrayed Chinese university student, Ricky Wong, also using makeup to change his skin tone.

Lilley’s other series, Ja’mie Private School Girl and the Netflix original, Lunatics, will remain on the streaming platform. When Lunatics premiered in 2019, Lilley denied using blackface makeup to portray Jana, a South African character.

Netflix’s decision to pull Lilley’s programs follows the removal of Little Britain and Come Fly With Me from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritboxLittle Britain and Come Fly With Me remain available on Stan in Australia.

“There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review,” a spokesperson for the BBC said.

“Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.”