Pulitzer-Finalist Professor Gets Canceled for Showing Students a Film From 1965

Did you ever, in your 20s, sneak a peak at a forbidden flick?

Did you dare spy cinema a little lamb your age wasn’t adult enough to endure?

I’m referring, of course, to G-Rated iterations of classic literature.


Such was the recent case at the University of Michigan, though youngsters didn’t mean to adulterate their eyes.

Indeed, a professor metaphorically boiled himself by showing woke students a movie from 1965.

The culture has certainly changed, and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than entertainment.

For an otherworldly glimpse, take a walk through some 1980s fare.

If you’re game for a greater jolt, rewind two decades more.

Consider, for example, the filmed National Theatre Company version of Othello.

The Oscar-nominated work saw critically-acclaimed actor Sir Laurence Olivier in the title role.

On camera, Laurence appeared to have taken some sun:

Hence, a bold classroom choice, courtesy of 65-year-old UM music Professor Bright Sheng.

On September 10th — perhaps a day to live in infamy for traumatized youth — the academic showcased Olivier’s heavily-made-up Moorish general.

Speaking to The Michigan Daily, freshman Olivia Cook conveyed consternation:

“I was stunned. In such a school that preaches diversity and making sure that they understand the history of POC (People Of Color) in America, I was shocked that [Bright] would show something like this in something that’s supposed to be a safe space.”

University spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen confirmed catastrophe to the New York Post:

“Music history offers lessons that remain significant today, including how blackface minstrelsy as a part of U.S. popular music was both a product of and a way to support racist stereotypes. However, charged lessons such as these must include proper context and should always be presented with care and sensitivity.”


Was there ever a stereotype of 17th-century chocolate-colored Arabic Turk-fighters speaking English with British accents?

Either way, Bright’s colleague — composition Professor Evan Chambers — puréed his peer.

From an email sent to the school paper:

“To show the film now, especially without substantial framing, content advisory and a focus on its inherent racism is in itself a racist act, regardless of the professor’s intentions. We need to acknowledge that as a community.”

But not everyone cast shade upon Bright.

Courtesy of reporter Christian Schneider’s tweet:

“Bright Sheng survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution but he might not survive a couple of whiny Michigan students being shown a film version of Othello.”

Japanese social media editor Oliver Jia also looked on the Bright side.

He posted to Twitter, “Bright Sheng did nothing wrong. His students should suck it up and stop acting like petulant children.”

Others have flocked to the educator’s court as well:

On September 16th, Bright issued a formal letter of apology to the school’s music department.


For now, he’s been replaced as instructor of the class.

And that’s too bad, since he’s a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a MacArthur Fellow, and has had his compositions performed around the world — including at 2008’s Beijing Olympics.

But first things first — the aftermath of a 56-year-old movie must be unpacked.

Moreover, Bright’s mea culpa may not have helped: The man took time to point out he’d worked with nonwhites.

Freshman Olivia wasn’t impressed:

“He could have taken responsibility for his actions and realized that this was harmful to some of his students that are within his class. Instead, he tried to make excuses. Instead of just apologizing for it, he tried to downplay the fact that the entire situation happened in the first place.”

Perhaps Bright might’ve paid more attention during his “antracism” trainingrequired for all UM staff.

From now on, he’ll likely tread lightly — America’s future find it difficult to deal with the past.

Irrespective of his fate at the school, I believe Professor Sheng will find continued success.

As for the aforementioned G-Rating, Othello wasn’t actually given such; the rating system didn’t begin until 1968.

Even so, the film was surely seen as family-friendly.

I predict the relabeling of a hard “R.”


Othello, you’re cruising for a cancellation.

These days, appropriation is an absolutely egregious offense.

We’re more enlightened and evolved.

1965…is not 2021:



See more pieces from me:

Glimpse of the Future? A Vaccine Mandate Reaches the Epitome of Nonessential Services

Bill Maher Marvels Over His Right-Wing Crowd, but It’s Likely Due to His Increasing Conservatism

MIT Boots Science Professor Following His Triggering Take on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Find all my RedState work here.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos