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A couple of weeks after Kurt Sutter was fired from FX, the Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. creator is speaking out. Sutter doesn't know all the circumstances behind his abrupt exit from FX, though he does think a slight directed at Disney did play a part.
For those who aren't up on Season 2 of Mayans M.C., the joke that Disney had taken issue with was intended to appear in the Season 2 premiere. Now that the situation has come and gone, Sutter has admitted the joke may not have been worth the price paid.
It all started with a joke. And not a very good one. There was a line in the Season 2 premiere. EZ [JD Pardo] and Coco [Richard Cabral] were getting off the bus at the school where the drugs were being processed. There was supposed to be a really gnarly playground out front. Filled with debris, dangerous looking swings, sharp objects, rusty jungle gym, etc. As they exited, Coco sees EZ’s distracted and says: Lighten up Boy Scout, and gesturing to the playground, says, ‘We’re going to Disneyland.’ EZ replies: ‘Yeah? Guess this is where Walt buried all the Jews he had killed.’ Coco comments: ‘That’s dark man…’ And exits.
For those a bit confused, the joke touches on the accusation that Disney founder Walt Disney was an anti-Semite. Historians, celebrities, and the masses have gone back and forth on that accusation for decades, though many who knew Disney maintain that is not true. Despite that, the accusation remains a popular point of speculation, and has even been referenced by other shows like Family Guy that are now under the Disney umbrella.
Even so, Family Guy's riff was long before it was a part of the Disney family, while Kurt Sutter's line was written after the deal had been struck. Obviously, the chances were much higher someone up the company ladder would have a problem with the line, which is what Sutter told Deadline he was expecting.
Although the joke came out of character and in any other environment, would have been typical of my brand of dark humor, I’m not an idiot. I knew it would ring some bells. Whether real or imagined, I was already experiencing the tightening of the noose. It was manifesting in production issues, creating more hurdles, etc. . . . So when I was informed that the Walt, Jew killing line had to go, I agreed and changed it to…We’re going to Disneyland. And now EZ says, ‘Yeah… if Mickey and Pluto were pedophiles.’
Those who think that only made the problem worse are correct, as Disney again took issue with the way Mayans M.C. was portraying its brand. As mentioned, Sutter knew this, and has since stated it was more strategy in an attempt to ensure the show can continue to run with the same guidelines and not a more restrictive atmosphere.
Thus began the war of sorts between Kurt Sutter and Disney, in which he continued to keep the pedophilia line in drafts of the Mayans M.C. script. While he didn't immediately recognize it at the time, Sutter now realizes that battle may have been when discussions began about removing him from the FX family.
Clearly, the change was a ‘fuck you’ on my part. And with every request to remove it, I left it in every subsequent pre-production draft. Knowing that I’d change it in the production pages after I saw the location. But a couple days before we started prep, I got a call from a very tired and beleaguered Dana Walden, asking me to please take it out. I felt bad that with all the shit she already had on her plate, she was tasked to handle this. I took it out. . . . In hindsight, I realized for her to get that call, the problem was being dealt with on a whole different level. In hindsight, I realize that dialog grenade was the beginning of my exit.
Kurt Sutter may not have put in the line to begin with, but claimed that the new legal department for Mayans M.C. had already been far more restrictive with the show than during Season 1. Sutter said the new legal team requested various changes to the script that had nothing to do with the Disney brand, and in his view, hurt the show's authenticity. While the story may seem like a case of Sutter poking the bear, the creator could argue he was poked first.
Mayans M.C. airs on FX Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend for more on what's happening with television, and for a look at what's happening with movies this fall as well.