Steven Spielberg Regrets Making Woke Edits to Iconic Film, Blasts 'Censorship' in Classic Works


Steven Spielberg is having second thoughts about censoring his own work.

The celebrated filmmaker told an interviewer this week that he regrets editing guns out of a scene from his 1982 film “E.T.”

“That was a mistake,” he told former TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal at the Time 100 Summit Tuesday, according to the news outlet.

“I never should have done that because ‘E.T.’ is a product of its era.

“No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are either voluntarily or being forced to adhere through.”

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In the original version of the film, one scene showed armed law enforcement officers chasing young children, NBC reported.

However, when the film was re-released in 2002 for its 20th anniversary, Spielberg edited the film to replace the adults’ firearms with walkie-talkies.

“I was sensitive to the fact that the federal agents were approaching a bunch of kids with their firearms exposed, and I thought I would change the guns into walkie-talkies,” Spielberg said.

But now, he views that act as a mistake.

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“Years have gone by and I have changed my own views,” Spielberg continued. “I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anybody really do that.

“All our movies are a kind of a … signpost of where we were when we made them, what the world was like and what the world was receiving when we got those stories out there. So I really regret having that out there.”

He also expressed opposition to the modern trend of editing out words like “fat,” “crazy” and “ugly” out of classic children’s literature like Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for fear of offending modern sensibilities.

“Nobody should ever attempt take the chocolate out of Willy Wonka, ever, and they shouldn’t take the chocolate or the vanilla or any other flavor out of anything that has been written,” Spielberg said.

“For me, it is sacrosanct. …  It’s our history, it’s our cultural heritage.

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“I do not believe in censorship in that way.”

The audience signaled agreement with whoops and enthusiastic applause.

Spielberg was one of 22 speakers headlining this week’s Time100 Summit, billed as an event “to spotlight solutions and encourage action toward a better world as we look ahead to the next century.”

“In collaboration with TIME CO2, the 2023 Summit will place special focus on climate action leadership,” according to the organization’s website.

Other guest speakers included former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, Former NBA player Carmelo Anthony, Harvard Genetics professor David Sinclair, CNN journalists Poppy Harlow and Abby Phillip, and gay and lesbian activist Sarah Kate Ellis.

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Lorri Wickenhauser earned a journalism degree from California State University, Fresno, and has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona.
Lorri Wickenhauser earned a journalism degree from California State University, Fresno, and has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona.