Skip to main content

HBO Max fixes Birds of Prey blunder and uploads the R-rated version

HBO Max fixes Birds of Prey blunder and uploads the R-rated version


HBO Max accidentally put up the TV-14 version

Share this story

HBO mistakenly added the censored version of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) to its streaming service at some point. But now it has finally replaced it with the R-rated version, letting viewers indulge in all the curse words and crude gestures featured within the Suicide Squad spinoff.

Johanna Fuentes, the head of communications at HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia, sent out a tweet on Saturday night to announce that the unedited version of the film is back on HBO Max. “The original version of #BirdsOfPrey is available now on HBO Max,” she wrote in a reply to a tweet about HBO Max’s mistake.

After fans noticed that the movie was censored, Fuentes confirmed there are two versions of the film: a clean one for broadcast cable, and an unedited version for streaming. Fuentes noted that the Birds of Prey will be “updated on Max,” and that only the uncensored version will be shown on the platform. A tweet from HBO Max initially stated that the platform had “no information” on when it would get the unedited version back, but it turns out that the R-rated version returned sooner than we thought.

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 contained dubbed-over and blurred-out swear words (via CBR). It even showed Harley Quinn making peace signs with both her hands, rather than flipping the bird.

Most notably, the movie opened 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.

Update November 28th, 1:00PM ET: Updated to add that the unedited version has been put back on HBO Max.