Reed Hastings, Chief Executive Officer Netflix, Inc.
100 Winchester Cir.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Dear Mr. Hastings,
I am joining with other concerned citizens, parents and grandparents to ask you – in the most urgent terms – to immediately cease the marketing of adult content to children.
According to a new study from the Parents Television Council, the most frequent age-based rating for what Netflix calls “Teen” programming – by far – was TV-MA (Mature Audiences); which means that, by definition, the programming is unsuitable for the audience for whom it is intended: kids in middle school and high school. The TV Parental Guidelines states that a TV-MA rating is “specifically designed to be viewed by adults.” Out of 11 program titles rated TV-14 by Netflix and for which VidAngel filtering data was available, every single program contained multiple uses of the word “sh*t”(44 uses in one 98 minute-long movie, Rim of the World); the popular Netflix series Stranger Things used the “s-word” 257 times across three seasons – that’s an average of 10 uses per episode.
Almost every Netflix original program rated as appropriate for teens (TV-14) had at least one use of the word “f*ck” (the only exceptions beingTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and its sequel, P.S. I Still Love You). Stranger Things did not introduce the “f-word” until part-way through its second season, but then used it six times in season 2, and 5 times in season 3. The teen movie, Rim of the World used the “f-word” five times in 98 minutes – more than one use of the “f-word” in a theatrical film is enough for the MPA to change the age restriction from “PG-13” to “R.”
We know that Netflix is capable of acting responsibly – after many months of public pressure, Netflix cut the suicide scene from season one of Thirteen Reasons Why. Netflix has also announced its intention to not to include portrayals of tobacco or e-cigarette use in new TV shows rated TV-14 or lower, and in movies rated TV-13 and below. More recently, Netflix has added options to allow parents to block specific titles, as well as other improvements to Netflix’s parental controls.
Now, more than ever, families are relying on Netflix to provide accurate information about content; safe title browsing, and age-appropriate marketing.
Please immediately pull mature-rated content from your “teen” categories and ensure that programming rated as appropriate for teens is actually suitable for teen viewers.