It’s not like David Zaslav hasn’t caused enough trouble at Turner Classic Movies. He was shredded in the press last month for firing all the top execs at the beloved movie channel and causing three famous directors (Spielberg, Scorsese, Anderson) to come after him.
Tonight, TCM viewers were aghast to learn that a long planned tribute to Harry Belafonte, set for this evening and announced in April, has been scotched. In its place, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz is interviewing “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig about movies that influenced “Barbie.”
The replacement movies are “The Philadelphia Story,” which was shown on TCM just recently, and “The Red Shoes.” (What they have to do with “Barbie” is beyond me.)
The Belafonte tribute was supposed to include remarks by Harry’s actress daughter, Shari, plus screenings of “Carmen Jones” and the rare “The World, the Flesh and the Devil.”
Fans are irate that the evening was scuttled for promoting Warner Bros. “Barbie” because the studio also owns TCM. Gerwig is lovely and her thoughts on film are not uninteresting. But the “Barbie” logo and a pink set and the blatant plug of a new movie vs. the tribute to a movie legend and civil rights hero is…gross and tasteless.
Plus, “Barbie” doesn’t need this attention. It’s making well over $100 million this weekend. The whole thing is unnecessary and crass.