ABC renames Black Bitch TV series to Total Control amid backlash

A new series set to land on ABC later this year has been renamed amid backlash on social media.

The show, which stars Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman, was initially called Black Bitch in an attempt to call out a racial slur, but has since been renamed Total Control.

An ABC spokesperson confirmed to Mumbrella that the six-part show had been renamed so as not to overshadow the important themes which are explored in the program.

“Black B*tch was a working title and while we supported its deliberate calling out of the racial slur by a proud Indigenous woman, it can also be taken, and used, in a negative way,” said the spokesperson.

“We want to ensure this excellent show is viewed and talked about by as broad an audience as possible for the great story it tells. To ensure the focus is on the story, not the name, the ABC will broadcast the series with the title Total Control, which aptly describes the central character’s fight for power over her life and politics.”

Total Control is directed by Rachel Perkins, founder of Blackfella Films, and follows the story of Griffiths as Australia’s Prime Minister and Mailman as her political rival. The show was aired at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its debut on ABC later this year.

When the trailer landed last month it was quickly met with concerns on social media from people who said the use of the racial slur in the headline was not appropriate and didn’t have the desired effect of making a statement.

ABC Indigenous quickly acknowledged the concerns and confirmed the title would change for the Australian release, a decision which had been made before the negative responses began.


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