Streaming services always raise eyebrows when they edit the movies on their platform, usually because they never inform viewers as to when they’ve done it. The most recent high-profile example was Disney+ censoring Daryl Hannah’s butt in Splash! by putting some extremely fake-looking CGI hair over it. Now, it’s Netflix’s turn to get fans grumbling, as they’ve inexplicably censored a scene in Back to the Future Part II.
The edit comes during the 1955 sequence where Marty McFly believes he’s finally gotten hold of the Sports Almanac. If you’ll recall, he excitedly opens it, only to realize it’s actually a French girlie magazine called Oh LàLà. In the original, he flicks through it, getting increasingly upset and saying “Oh LàLà?” before ending on the cover. In the Netflix version, he briefly flicks through it, though the scene cuts before we see the cover page. To add insult to injury, it’s an extremely clumsy and obvious cut.
Pretty big chunk missing. pic.twitter.com/i9TuFYOAYC
— ATeRSa NDUcC (@ATeRSa_NDUcC) May 19, 2020
Reactions to this on Twitter were brutal, with many furious users holding it up as an example of why physical media like DVDs and Blu-rays are so important. Here’s just a selection of the responses:
So now Netflix censored Back to the Future II. This censorship bullshit is why I still buy physical media.
— Michael Gaines (@starmike) May 20, 2020
— FanZcene: Knight Ambassador (@FZscene) May 20, 2020
Netflix WHAT have you done!?! Back To The Future II CENSORED!! https://t.co/ZQu1I4IvLW Wokeflix screws up again. And in other news water is wet.
— Bowsette (@Djdirty713) May 20, 2020
The Back to the Future 2 edit by Netflix. Yet another proof that people should buy and/or keep their physical media.
— John Mason (@vincmason) May 20, 2020
I’m not sure what the hell Netflix thought it was doing with that Back to the Future Part 2 edit.
Who is that meant to appease? It was nothing. There have been racier Sears catalogs.
I haven’t paid them any mind since their weird re-dub of Evangelion, but fuck’em.
— Shawn (@Shawn_on_Games) May 20, 2020
Okay @netflix, fuck you for censoring Back to the Future Part II. You are no fucking better than Disney here. I immediately canceled my subscription to you because of your fuck up here. Shame on you. I hate censorship with a passion. Fuck you for doing that. 😡
— Daniel J Huntington (@DanielJHunting1) May 20, 2020
@netflix gave a fantastic example of why physical media is important. I can watch Back To The Future II in it's original unedited form. And I thought @DisneyPlus had a censoring problem. With the stuff #Netflix has in movies & kids shows, I wonder why they singled out one scene.
— スーパースプーンマン (@vamp21) May 20, 2020
Revisionist history begins anew… I hate this timeline. Can we reset it please?
— Mr. Sack #ExiledOpinions (@towerofshandor) May 19, 2020
This is so weird, but I noticed @netflix edited out like 2 seconds of Back to the Future 2, where Marty discovers the sports almanac is a porno mag, with a cover that these days should be considered G-rated. Half of Netflix's original series' contains nudity. Why censor this?
— Gambet (@GambetTV) May 20, 2020
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So, what’s going on here? Well, my first thought was – like Disney’s treatment of Splash! – that Netflix were concerned that the original cover was too explicit for a younger audience. But having looked at the original, the cover is a fully-clothed (albeit suggestive) image of a beautiful woman. I can’t think that even the strictest prude would have a specific issue with the flash we see of it.
My next theory was that Oh LàLà magazine had returned to publication recently and are now enforcing their trademark, but they were invented for the movie. Another long-shot was that the model in the picture, actress Venetia Stevenson, has an issue with her image being used. But she’s 81 and living in London and…well, why would she start caring now? Fans have wondered whether this might simply be chalked up to a technical problem with the file Netflix used, which would at least explain why the edit is so bad.
In any case, while this is a small moment in Back to the Future Part II, it’s still disappointing to see Netflix altering their movies without so much as a hint of explanation. Let’s hope it’s fixed as soon as possible.