It’s important to remember the entertainment that Hollywood and others produce often is driven by demand — a fact underscored by a surprising announcement from Netflix last July.
Netflix has faced a lot of criticism in recent months for twisting the classic story Anne of Green Gables into a celebration of homosexuality and its decision to continue streaming the series 13 Reasons Why.
As you may be aware, the bleak worldview and graphic depiction of teen suicide in 13 Reasons Why has been linked to a number of suicides in real life — a phenomenon experts call “suicide contagion.”
Netflix took a lot of flak for continuing to run the show, but CEO Reed Hastings defended the decision last June, telling shareholders, “13 Reasons Why has been enormously popular and successful. It’s engaging content. It is controversial. But nobody has to watch it.”
In other words, the show’s content doesn’t matter. As long as 13 Reasons Why is popular and profitable, Netflix will stream it.
However, if consumers demand more appropriate entertainment, Netflix and other companies might be willing to deliver it.
Our friends at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview have released a short commentary highlighting this point. John Stonestreet writes,
Netflix has been on a roll lately when it comes to offending families—and decency. From the dangerous series “13 Reasons” about teen suicide, to comedienne Michelle Wolf’s vile “salute to abortion,” to its turning the classic Anne of Green Gables books into an LGBT celebration.
So far, in the face of criticism, Netflix has remained publicly defiant.
That’s why it is a bit of a surprise when they recently announced a new focus on building a “robust slate of family-friendly programming.”
Stonestreet and others point out that Netflix may finally be realizing that there are still a lot of people in America who want wholesome, family-friendly programming.
All of this underscores the fact that when it comes to entertainment, we still have the power to “vote with our remotes” by carefully choosing which shows and movies we will and will not watch.
Photo Credit: Brian Cantoni (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cantoni/10715878456) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons