Written by PTC | Published August 5, 2020
July 20, 2020
Chief Executive Officer
100 Winchester Cir.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Dear Mr. Hastings,
On January 29, 2020, you signed and filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission the Netflix Corporation’s Form 10-K for 2019. On Page 6 of that document is the following verbiage under the heading “Risk Factors:”
“To the extent our content, in particular, our original programming, is perceived as low quality, offensive or otherwise not compelling to consumers, our ability to establish and maintain a positive reputation may be adversely impacted.” [Italics mine]
In the years since Netflix started investing heavily in original content, we’ve reached out to you about 13 Reasons Why, the teen-targeted drama that not only romanticized teen suicide, but which was linked to a spike in actual youth suicides in America by the National Institutes of Health. We wrote to you expressing great concern about Big Mouth, the animated series that sexualizes children in gross and disturbing ways. And we asked Netflix to remove from its distribution platform the foreign film Desire, which portrayed a nine year old girl bringing herself to orgasm.
But now, it seems Netflix has reached an all-time low with 365 Days, which glamorizes sex trafficking, rape, and kidnapping.
At a time when our nation is enmeshed in a dialogue about eliminating vestiges of slavery and oppression in America, and at a time when four million adults and one million children around the world are victims of forced sexual exploitation; Netflix has given their corporate imprimatur to sexual exploitation by distributing – and profiting from – a film that asks viewers to be entertained by it. Please reconsider the distribution of this film, or any film, that would normalize such wretched human behavior.
I call your attention to The Walt Disney Company, which has rightfully resisted calls for the rerelease of its vintage film, Song of the South, because of the hurtful, racist bigotry in the film’s content and storyline. It is tragic that there remains a marketplace for such content even in 21st Century America; but Disney made the responsible decision to forgo any additional profit that could be earned from this film despite the fact that the content may be compelling to consumers.
And that brings me back to you, Mr. Hastings. It is long past time for Netflix to stop hiding behind the bogus excuse of giving your subscribers “more choice and control over their Netflix viewing experience” to justify your company’s irresponsible programming decisions.
While real-world victims of human trafficking have condemned 365 Days for glamorizing ‘the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape,’ your corporate stance has been to callously dismiss those concerns, by saying that since your company was not involved in the production of the film, you are not responsible – yet Netflix is directly profiting from the film and has already announced plans to produce a sequel.
I urgently, fervently urge you to recognize Netflix’s complicity in humanity’s worst behavior, and to remove this toxic film from your distribution platform immediately. Like you, we believe in freedom of expression. But you know as well as we do that with freedom comes responsibility. This isn’t about censorship; it is about doing the right thing.
If Netflix does not immediately remove this film from its platform and stop profiting from this pro-sex trafficking, pro-rape, and pro-kidnapping film, we will take our concerns to your Board of Directors and, if necessary, directly to the shareholders.
Timothy F. Winter, President