Birds of Prey is a fun film, but not a kid-friendly one. Featuring a villain who cuts people's faces off while they're still alive, it's hardly one to stick on in the background this Thanksgiving weekend.
But HBO Max reckoned it could fix that, however – by stopping Harley Quinn from being such a potty mouth. Viewers were shocked to discover that the R-rated Birds of Prey has been replaced by a (slightly more) "clean" version, which removes all the fucks, shits, balls, bitches, and middle fingers. Oh, and a shot of Harley throwing up.
Take a look for yourself, if you dare. One brave viewer documented their watch on Twitter, showing us what sort of content HBO and/or Warner Bros. thinks is too naughty for television.
Highlight (or lowlights) include Harley calling the Joker a "maggot farmer" – a clever re-use of audio from the original line, "motherfucker". There's also the bit where she's meant to say, "they don't give two shits about us", with the bad word morphed into sounding like "figs". Because yes, that is how she would talk.
Middle fingers are also a big no-no, with the offending digit either removed altogether, or another one added so two are raised instead (fun fact: the latter is actually still an insult in places such as the UK, Ireland and Australia).
While most of the censorship is accomplished using new audio, to make it sound like the actors are actually saying the cleaner language, sometimes the studio just gives up subtlety altogether. At one point in the movie, the character Renee Montoya wears a shirt that reads "I shaved my balls for this". Obviously, we can't risk that corrupting the minds of the innocents this holiday season, they just… blur out "my balls". Nice one.
There is a silver lining in all of this. According to a statement from Warner Bros., the clean edit was never meant to replace the original cut. While the studio doesn't give a timeframe, it did confirm that the mistake will be addressed.
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