HBO mistakenly added the censored version of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) to its streaming service, but said it will replace it with the R-rated version soon, as reported by CBR.
Or… counterpoint. We have a version of the film that airs on broadcast cable and the unedited version of the film for streaming which has been up for a year (which the original post on CBR noted). Will be updated on Max.
— Johanna Fuentes (@jfuentes) November 27, 2021
Johanna Fuentes, the head of communications at HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia, confirmed there are two versions of the film: a clean one for broadcast cable, and an unedited version for streaming. Fuentes notes that the Birds of Prey will be “updated on Max,” and that only the uncensored version will be shown on the platform. As for when exactly that will happen, a tweet from HBO Max reveals that the platform has “no information” on when it will get the unedited version back.
As CBR notes, the uncensored version was previously available on HBO Max until it briefly left the platform on November 14th. Since its return, viewers quickly noticed that despite being labeled as rated-R for “suggestive dialogue, language,” and “violence,” the movie contains dubbed-over and blurred-out swear words (via CBR). It even shows Harley Quinn making peace signs with both her hands, rather than flipping the bird.
Most notably, the movie opens with a warning that reads, “This film has been modified as follows from its original version: it has been edited for content.” This is the same message that appears at the beginning of the TV-14 version that’s been airing on TNT, as reported by CBR.
Some fans quickly jumped to the conclusion that HBO Max deliberately censored the flick, despite HBO being long considered a network for edgier content. However, HBO has buckled down on some of its content in the past, such as when it removed raunchier titles like Cathouse and Real Sex from HBO Go in 2018. More recently, HBO Max quietly altered the poster for the classic horror movie The Evil Dead. The artwork, which originally shows an arm reaching out from underwater and clutching a woman by her throat, has been changed to remove the arm from the image.
The Verge reached out to WarnerMedia with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
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