We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys and Jonah From Tonga, which were originally aired in 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2014 respectively, have long faced criticism for their racial depictions.
Among the controversial characters are Tongan schoolboy Jonah Takalua (performed by Lilley in brownface) and African American rapper S.mouse (performed by Lilley in blackface).
In 2017, the Australian comedian faced intense backlash after he reposted a clip from Angry Boys featuring his character S.mouse’s music video named “Squashed n---a”. The reposting came just days after a controversial verdict following the death of Elijah Doughty.
The 14-year-old Aboriginal teenager died after being chased and fatally hit by a driver of a ute in Western Australia. The driver received a three-year sentence for dangerous driving causing death but was cleared of manslaughter, sparking national protests.
Lilley later deleted the clip and apologised for any offence caused, claiming the video was "not connected in any way to current news stories".
Speaking on the Today show on Thursday morning, Gamilaroi reporter Brooke Boney weighed in on the removal of Lilley’s titles from Netflix and argued that they should not be scrubbed from history.
“Does going back through the archives and tearing down art that’s been made in the past really help us move forward?” the Today show star said.
“If I have children, I don’t want them to see and to think that that is how they fit into the world. But I’d also like to be able to show them how poorly our people were thought of and treated in the past.”
Instead, she called for the media and arts industry to “open doors” to a more diverse range of people.
Echoing this sentiment, Australian rapper Briggs tweeted, “What @NetflixANZ can do is fund more Indigenous content & creators and put it front and center. Enough with reactionary responses. Removing content doesn’t empower the next gen, make something that does. Put your money up.”
It comes after Netflix also pulled The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen from its streaming platform due to their use of white actors donning blackface.