End the playing of films with yellow face and black face at Skyline Drive In NYC

End the playing of films with yellow face and black face at Skyline Drive In NYC

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Athanasia Eliopoulos
Athanasia Eliopoulos signed this petition

Skyline Drive In NYC ’s showing of  Breakfast At Tiffany’s (B.A.T.) on June 25th, 2020, is offensive and insupportable. We, a group of concerned citizens from around the world, voiced our concerns to Skyline Drive-In NYC (based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn) prior to the film’s showing, explicitly demanding the removal of B.A.T from their lineup. We began reaching out on June 22nd. Their response, or lack thereof, quickly transitioned from passively ignoring us to actively silencing us. Skyline blocked our ability to contact them via social media; they blocked phone calls and deleted all of our comments on their social media account. In addition to B.A.T., we have also raised concerns of Trading Places, which features Dan Aykroyd in blackface. These concerns have been ignored as well. Skyline was given plenty of opportunities to respond. Aside from the few canned responses, issuing thanks for their customers’ concerns, they actively fought to silence our voices.

B.A.T. features a caricature of a Japanese man played by Mickey Rooney in yellow face. With taped eyelids, buck teeth and speaking with a sibilant accent, his role intentionally deployed stereotypes of Asian men to provide comedic relief. In light of recent protests around the world fighting for racial equality, the choice to show this film is ignorant at best, blatantly racist at worst..

We want to make it clear that we are not here to ban or censor films. Rather, we submit that showing films with caricatures of POC as a form of entertainment is no longer acceptable in our society, as doing so perpetuates the harmful stereotypes against POC. These films should not be shown without a thoughtful conversation to address the problematic characters with the audiences in a very direct, deliberate manner. This film shouldn’t be shown to audiences who are enjoying a cold beer and hot dog on a summer evening, as Skyline Drive-In NYC is intended for.

Skyline Drive-In NYC needs to be held accountable for their actions. We demand the following:

  • Immediate removal of Trading Places (scheduled for July 1st, 2020)
  • An apology to the Asian Community and Black Community for the showing of B.A.T, and Trading Places. Your apology should include  an admission of ignoring the many requests to remove both films from their docket.
  • A statement to be posted on all social media platforms and their website from the theater’s content creators acknowledging the harmful effects of their movie selections.
  • An action plan of how they intend to select movies moving forward.
  • Free showings once weekly featuring movies that serve to educate viewers on racial inequalities in our world.
  • A donation of proceeds from B.A.T. and each movie played after until the above demands are met. The foundation is TBD by the organizers and supporters of this petition.

To Ari (last name unknown), the CEO of Skyline Drive-In NYC - we are giving you an opportunity to lead the change. You are in a position of power and it is important to take full responsibility of how your movie selections may shape the worldviews of your audiences. This is your opportunity to make things right. We sign this not to disrespect you but to support you in growth and change.