'Barbershop' Brouhaha

Barbershop, The Movie, MGM Pictures MGM Pictures

While America's hottest cross-over hit "Barbershop" has millions laughing in the aisles, it has an influential few steamed under the collar, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whittaker.

The Reverends Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and a who's who of main-stream civil rights leaders are fired up -- calling scenes in the movie disrespectful of a number of civil rights icons.

"I'm outraged and offended," said Sharpton. "I think it's objectionable to cast Martin Luther King, who gave his life for American freedom and liberty, as an immoral figure."

He's referring to a scene in the movie refering to King's alleged infidelity.

But what the older, black establishment sees as sacrilege, young black Hollywood sees as ripe for satire.

"Sure it was significant, but, you know, it wasn't the end-all. I'm sure I will be chased around some parking lots for it, but I will have to explain that I was acting," said Cedric the Entertainer.

Still, Al Sharpton demanded and got an apology from the filmmakers.

Barbershop was written by Mark Brown and directed by Tim Story. It stars Ice Cube and was distributed by film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

The producers, Bob Teitel and George Tillman, said that they had apologized to on behalf of everyone involved with the film.

"I completely did not mean to offend anyone," Tillman said.

"We respect Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesse Jacson," the producers said in a letter. "We in no way meant to belittle any of the contributions made by these fine individuals."

But Jackson said they must go further and remove those scenes from the video, DVD and cable versions.

"The apology is a step in the right direction," he told the AP, but added that he will "keep appealing to them" to do the right thing.

The whole thing has folks debating in barbershops across the country, like the Magic Shears in LA.

"These accomplishments that they died for are not a joke," said barber Mario Guillmeno.

Said Karen Guillmeno: "It may be controversial and unpopular, but that is truly life of a barbershop."

And that old Hollywood adage, "there's no such thing as bad publicity" may just help Barbershop stay number one a little longer.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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