After 25 Seasons of Perpetuating Racist Stereotypes, Fox Cancels "Cops"
After 25 seasons of celebrating petty policing and perpetuating racist stereotypes, Fox dropped the law enforcement “reality” show “Cops,” the network announced Monday. The testosterone-laden Spike TV network rushed to pick up the program.
Black advocacy group ColorOfChange.org supported the cancellation, having recently launched a campaign urging Fox to drop the show and companies to pull advertisements aired during the program. “It's thanks to ColorOfChange members that “Cops” will no longer air on network TV in primetime,” wrote ColorOfChange executive director Rashad Robinson in a statement. Fox has not publically stated whether ColorOfChange's campaign was a deciding factor.
Just days before Fox’s announcement, the group argued that shows like Cops perpetuate negative perceptions of African Americans and glamorizes controversial police tactics:
With such a narrow range of Black characters and personalities in primetime, the negative perceptions and distorted images presented by shows like “Cops” create an atmosphere of suspicion that desensitizes and conditions audiences to view harsher punishments and police misconduct — including police brutality and unconstitutional searches — as acceptable. Research shows that these images linger in the subconscious of viewers, creating "unconscious attitudes” and "implicit biases" about both race and class.
Spike TV president Kevin Kay says he has high hopes for the program on his network. "Cops is a remarkable series that has been able to sustain strong ratings well into its third decade, a monumental achievement in television,” Kay said in a statement. “As we continue to grow and expand our audience, new episodes of Cops, with its loyal audience of adults 18-49, is the perfect addition to our prime-time lineup on Saturday nights."