It appears that streaming giant Amazon Video cannot handle the “offensive content” contained in John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 film Shortbus.
The critically acclaimed controversial film Shortbus has finally hit streamers across the landscape after previously being unavailable, and though you can now find a copy of it on Google Play, VUDU, and Apple TV, Mitchell’s film has not appeared on Amazon Video, and we are now learning a bit more about why it’s missing.
Indiewire has reported that Amazon’s official reasoning for the exclusion comes down to “captions are out of sync” and “offensive content.” It should be noted that the subtitles are fine on every other service, and the error response that Oscilloscope Laboratories, who submitted the film to Prime Video, actually received reads: “We aren’t making your title available on Prime Video as it violates our Content Policy Guidelines.”
Oscilloscope’s president, Dan Berger, stated, “There’s no shortage of dicks readily available on Amazon.” He’s not wrong. There’s a sizable number of films on Amazon Video that featured unsimulated sex scenes in their productions and finished products, and I’ve noted several below (some of these are even featured for free as part of Prime Video):
- Double Face (1969)
- Cry Uncle! (1971)
- Score (1974)
- Female Vampire (1975)
- Blue Movie (1978)
- Romance (1999)
- Sex and Lucia (2001)
- 8mm 2 (2005)
- Lust, Caution (2007)
- Otto; or Up with Dead People (2008)
- Gutterballs (2008)
- Enter the Void (2009)
- The Band (2009)
- Dogtooth (2009)
- Stranger by the Lake (2013)
- Wetlands (2013)
- Pasolini (2014)
- A Thought of Ecstacy (2017)
Now, it should be noted that Amazon is a business, and a business is allowed to have principles around what they want to market and sell and what they do not, but it strikes me that they used the excuse of subtitles for this film when their statement about content that violates their Guidelines should suffice.
But that also doesn’t solve the question pertaining to the amount of other films with the same type of CONTENT that should flag the same part of their GUIDELINES. Why is Shortbus excluded from the servce but you can easily watch Blue Movie or Lust, Caution or Wetlands without issue? Is it because Shortbus is incredible well-known for its unsimulated sex? That would’nt surprise me as the service also excludes the notable Nymphoniac Part 1 & Part 2 which featured the same. Or is there another reason we aren’t privy to? Is Amazon Prime excluding because it caters to the LGBTQIA+ group? I’m not saying that I believe that, as I haven’t seen many of the films from the above list that Amazon does service, but I’m just asking questions to figure out why Shortbus would be out when so many other films are not.
I don’t think we can figure out the answers to this mystery at this time, but hopefully the company will provide more clarity to their decision to help readers and fans of Shortbus understand the reasoning behind their decision.
Shortbus is currently available at most other digital services.
So what do you think about Amazon Video’s exclusion of Shortbus? Will you be checking out the film at another digital retailer? Let me know with a comment below!
-Kyle A. Goethe