A Massachusetts high school canceled a screening of the movie Cool Runnings after receiving complaints from the school community that the movie is “racially insensitive.”
The Wayland High School student council announced that the school would be hosting a showing of the 1993 Disney film starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Wednesday during the school’s “Winter Week” after midterm exams, Boston 25 News reported.
The PG-rated film is based on a true story about a Jamaican bobsled team’s journey to 1988 Olympic Games.
But the school’s principal, Allyson Mizoguchi, put those plans on ice after emailing the student body to let them know that the screening had been canceled.
“Following the recent announcement that Cool Runnings would be the movie shown this year, I received concerns from members of our community that raised my awareness about elements of the movie that could be viewed as culturally and racially insensitive,” Mizoguchi wrote in a statement.
The principal added that she made the decision to cancel the screening after doing some research into the movie’s plot.
“While disappointing for students, I want to emphasize that this experience has inspired productive, honest conversation about stereotypes in the media, the nature of narrative, and subtle, racially insensitive messages as compared to overt racism,” she added.
The principal’s letter spurred 150 students to sound off on the decision in an email chain, with many outraged students saying they would watch the film at home on Netflix instead.
The student newspaper conducted a poll of the student body asking what the teens thought of Mizoguchi’s decision. Out of the 115 students who participated in the survey, only two teenagers supported their principal’s decision.
Mizoguchi explained that she banned the movie not because she thought the film was “overtly racist,” but because the film showcased a “subtlety of stereotypes.”
“The movie is not really overtly racist,” Mizoguchi told the Metrowest Daily News. “It is the subtlety of stereotypes in the movie.”