An Open Letter to Netflix Investors:
In the first quarter of this year, Netflix suffered its first subscriber decline in a decade. According to published reports, they hemorrhaged 200,000 subscribers last quarter, and potentially close to two million this current period. According to CNBC, Netflix has shed more than $50 Billion in market cap and is now the worst-performing stock of 2022 in the S&P 500.
In short, Netflix has failed in its fiduciary responsibility to you as a shareholder.
Netflix has no doubt offered you many reasons for that decline: competition from other streaming services, the lifting of COVID stay-at-home orders, a bad economy.
But you should instead listen to what former subscribers are saying: It’s the content.
Netflix is damaging its brand, reputation, and shareholder value with sexualized and sexually-exploitative depictions of children in its original programming.
We have repeatedly warned Netflix’s CEO, as well as Netflix’s Board of Directors about the damage they are doing to their brand by alienating what is by far the most stable and profitable segment of streaming video consumers: family audiences.
As shareholders, you deserve to know that those warnings have been ignored, but more than that, they have doubled-down on offensive content that will only serve to further drive family audiences away.
In September 2020, Netflix added Cuties to its catalogue. Billed as a “coming-of-age film,” Cuties depicted an 11-year-old girl attempting to seduce an adult male family member, photographing her privates to post online, and coaching other girls her age to perform sexually-suggestive dance moves. Shortly after the streaming debut of Cuties, #CancelNetflix started trending on social media and a petition on Change.org calling on Netflix to remove the program from its platform garnered over 125,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, Netflix is suing in Federal Court for the right to continue producing and distributing content that sexually-exploits children.
A research report by the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) details how Netflix’s Big Mouth places middle schoolers, aged 12 and 13, in sexual situations and engaging in sexual dialogue, including a minor offering to perform oral sex on his own father; a minor exposing his scrotum; minors shown in a shower with erect penises; a minor urinating on another minor in the shower; a male minor character penetrating a female minor character with his fingers.
Our research also reveals that the Netflix streaming series Sex Education graphically depicts under-age characters engaged in sex acts and lewd conduct and should be considered child pornography.
Netflix has also aired a movie (Desire) showing a very young girl masturbating to climax.
In coming days, the PTC will be petitioning U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate whether federal laws regarding child sex, indecency, and human trafficking have been violated.
Our members, parents, grandparents and other concerned citizens are asking you, personally, as a Netflix investor to use what influence you have to force Netflix to stop sexualizing children, not only for the sake of the child actors who are being exploited in the name of entertainment; but to protect the children to whom these programs are being marketed.
Timothy F. Winter
President, Parents Television Council