Why did Amazon cancel Shelby Steele's 'What Killed Michael Brown?' Internet rallies against 'systemic racism'
Amazon canceled 'What Killed Michael Brown?' that explores race relations and the killing of Black man Michael Brown by a White police officer leading to riots in Ferguson in 2014
Amazon Prime has canceled author and filmmaker Shelby Steele’s documentary 'What Killed Michael Brown?' that was scheduled for an October 16 release in the United States. Amazon said in a written message that they will not allow an appeal for the release of the documentary.
Amazon reportedly claimed that the documentary, which Shelby Steele made with his son Eli, was not "eligible for publishing" and that they "will not be accepting resubmission of this title and this decision may not be appealed." Wall Street Journal reported that Steele's documentary explores race relations in the United States and that it was rejected because it "doesn’t meet Prime Video's content quality expectations".
The documentary's official site states that the subject is "timely" and is about the pre-George Floyd killing of Michael Brown by a police officer that sparked riots in Ferguson in 2014. WSJ reported that its subject — race relations — is a "major fault line in this year’s presidential election, one reason the Steeles scheduled their film for release on October 16."
The documentary is written and narrated by Shelby Steele, a celebrated African-American scholar at the Hoover Institution. It is directed by his filmmaker son Eli Steele. Eli said on the cancellation by Amazon as reported in news site NR, "There were no technical issues with the upload of the video file, caption file and artwork."
"Had there been, they would have simply pointed out the problem and asked me to correct it. The fact that they took the step to say that I could not appeal at all is very telling. If you look at other Ferguson-related documentaries up on Amazon, you will see that we use the same news footage and follow a similar format when it comes to our original footage — interviews, b-roll footage, etc. The only difference between my film and those films is the voice behind the images."
Eli Steele said on his film, as reported by Fox, "As we made this film, including people from all different walks of life and perspectives, never once did we think that our film would be rejected. It is quite a startling thing to realize that you are on the wrong side of the line that determines what is acceptable in our culture or not."
What is the documentary about?
WSJ reported that the documentary doesn't fit the dominant narrative of White police officers killing young Black men because of systemic racism. It says due to this Eli Steele said on Amazon's cancellation, "We were canceled, plain and simple."
The documentary's synopsis reads, "Acclaimed writer Shelby Steele has long argued that systemic racism is more a strategy than a truth and that the universal oppression of Black Americans is largely over. But the 2014 shooting of a Black teen, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, by a White policeman shook the nation to its core. During Steele’s investigation of Ferguson, America was once again rocked by the brutal killing of George Floyd. Didn’t these killings and the long list of others like them put the lie to Steele's argument?"
Twitter enraged by move
After the news dropped on the cancellation of the documentary that explores race relations, the Internet was abuzz with views. A user wrote bashing Amazon, "Amazon refused to stream Shelby Steele's documentary 'What Killed Michael Brown?' b/c they say it 'doesn't meet Prime Video's content quality expectations'. Why not let Americans decide for themselves if the film has merit?"
A user wrote on Steele's acumen, "I urge you to get educated from Leo Terrell, Shelby Steele, Horace Cooper, and Larry Elder and Candace Owens! Yeah, they're Black, but they are soooooo damn smart and RESPECTABLE BIG TIME!" Another wrote against Amazon, “Amazon is silencing Black filmmakers because their documentary doesn't fit the 'systemic racism' narrative."
Amazon refused to stream Shelby Steele’s documentary, “What Killed Michael Brown?”, b/c they say it “doesn’t meet Prime Video’s content quality expectations”. Why not let Americans decide for themselves if the film has merit? https://t.co/X712tsa57E— Bob Woodson (@BobWoodson) October 14, 2020
I urge you to get educated from Leo Terrell, Shelby Steele, Horace Cooper and Larry Elder and Candace Owens! Yeah, they're black, but they are soooooo damn smart and RESPECTABLE, BIG TIME!!— GudTechnology2017 (@Gudtechnology1) October 16, 2020
Amazon is silencing Black filmmakers because their documentary doesn't fit the 'systemic racism' narrativehttps://t.co/kPcY4KVeU8— Neil Njordson (@NeilNjordson) October 15, 2020
A user alleged that the act by Amazon is racist. "Why is Dr Shelby Steele’s documentary being censored by WHITE leftist like Prime Video Amazon Help? As a prime member, I want to see his documentary. Since when is it okay to shut down Black Americans with different views? It’s pure racism & disgusting!"
A user threw light on the documentary, "The interesting thing about this cancellation; Shelby Steele's film traces the factual evidence of the Michael Brown case as provided by Obama's DOJ. Meanwhile, you CAN say 'hands up, don't shoot' without repercussion, despite it being factually untrue." A user showed disdain for Steele, "Shelby Steele is a dangerous presence in the discussion of race relations."
Why is Dr Shelby Steele’s documentary being censored by WHITE leftist like @PrimeVideo @AmazonHelp?— 𝕊𝕜𝕪 (@SKYRIDER4538) October 16, 2020
As a prime member I want to see his documentary.
Since when is it okay to shut down Black Americans w different views?
It’s pure racism& disgusting!@marthamaccallum@icecube pic.twitter.com/2CLtQNvpSB
The interesting thing about this cancellation; Shelby Steele’s film traces the factual evidence of the Michael Brown case as provided by Obamas DOJ. Meanwhile you CAN say “hands up, don’t shoot” without repercussion, despite it being factually untrue. https://t.co/Mr5e8bL6nO— Brad Pritts (@BradleyPritts) October 16, 2020
Shelby Steele is a dangerous presence in the discussion of race relations.— Sports Gemini; Jason Belser (@JasonBelser) October 16, 2020
These allegations were made by the Internet and individual organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently nor does it support these claims being made on the Internet