Fox Movie Channel axes ‘Chan’ fest

Orgs protest, say pix perpetuate stereotypes

Protests from Chinese-American groups have caused the Fox Movie Channel to cancel a planned summerlong festival of 22 “Charlie Chan” detective movies produced by 20th Century Fox.

Plan was to schedule a double feature of “Chan” pics each weekend through Labor Day because “numerous subscribers to the Fox Movie Channel, as well as film historians, have long requested” such a scheduling, said FMC in a statement.

But after the first three weekends, FMC got mail from the Organization of Chinese-Americans and other groups taking the network to task for unspooling movies that perpetuate stereotypes of Chinese people as “slant-eyed, buck-toothed and subservient.”

In its statement, now up on its Web site, FMC disagrees, insisting that the showcase “intended to illustrate the positive aspects of these movies, such as the complex storylines, interesting characters and Charlie Chan’s great intellect.”

The Organization of Chinese-Americans doesn’t see it that way, particularly since none of the actors who played Chan in these movies were Chinese. Over the years, the role was played by actors as varied as Peter Ustinov, J. Carrol Naish and Ross Martin.

One devotee of the “Chan” movies, Ira Hozinsky, said he’s angry that a niche minipay network like Fox Movie Channel, available in fewer than 20 million homes, should bow to letters from pressure groups. “It’s one thing for a broadcast network to be sensitive to the displeasure of even a few vocal campaigners,” said Hozinsky. But, he added, “for a premium movie channel to do so seems remarkable.”

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