Netflix has been accused of going too far with trying to serve personalized recommendations to its black subscribers. Some are claiming that the streaming giant is being misleading by using movie artwork that makes it seem like black supporting characters are in leading roles.
“In their keenness to cater to black audiences, Netflix has overstepped the mark with this issue,” said Joy Jones, founder and editor of MelanMag.com, in an interview with Sky News. “As with recent tone-deaf PR debacles, I won’t be surprised if it stems from not having the right people around the table.
Critics have hightlighted Netflix posters for Love, Actually and Like Father as examples of false advertising. According to the Sky News article, black subscribers have been seeing a poster for Like Father which features African-American actors Blaire Brooks and Leonard Ouzts. The film, however, stars Caucasian actors Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell.
Likewise, the article suggests that black Netflix users have been seeing a poster for Love, Actually that focuses on Afro-British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keira Knightley. But Ejiofor does not have a major role in that movie, it’s a bit part that’s overshadowed by the predominantly white cast.
“Yes, when I’m scrolling through, looking for what to watch, I instinctively stop when I see black characters highlighted as the lead as that’s what I want to watch,” Jones added.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) October 20, 2018
Netflix has recently come under fire for canceling original programming that feature racially diverse casts. The streaming service recently announced that it will be canceling Marvel’s Iron Fist. Although the series was bashed by some for casting a white actor instead of an Asian actor as the lead, it still featured an Asian actress in a prominent role.
A day later, Netflix announced that they were canceling Luke Cage, a show about a black superhero with a predominantly black cast.
Observers on social media found the cancellations upsetting, insinuating tha Netflix was targetting shows with prominent non-white characters.
“Hm. IRON FIST and LUKE CAGE had the most people of color,” a Twitter user with the handle @tnwhiskeywoman wrote. “JESSICA JONES and DAREDEVIL are much whiter and made it to 3 seasons (so far). Interesting.”
Netflix has not given a specific reason for either cancelation.
But there are some fans who are seeing a silver lining in the cancelations. There are some who are speculating that Disney/Marvel may be working on a Heroes For Hire series, Comicbook report,s which could see these beloved characters return to the screen as a team.
A spokesperson from Netflix has reached out to Inquisitr with the following statement.
“Reports that we look at demographics when personalizing artwork are untrue. We don’t ask members for their race, gender or ethnicity so we cannot use this information to personalize their individual Netflix experience. The only information we use is a member’s viewing history. In terms of thumbnails, these do differ and regularly change. This is to ensure that the images we show people are useful in deciding which shows to watch.”