Netflix debuted the teaser trailer for their original series Dear White People earlier today and wouldn’t you know it, some very predictable people weren’t pleased! A summation of the 34-second teaser might be “blackface is bad!” which most sane, compassionate individuals would agree with. But if the internet were populated only by the sane and compassionate, we’d never have hashtags like #BoycottNetflix.
Twitter users—including former Buzzfeed employee and #TrumpCup creator Baked Alaska—have been posting pictures of their cancellations to the video streaming service today in preparation for the series’s April 28 debut. Multiple threads have also cropped up on 4chan’s /pol/ board and Reddit’s r/the_donald, the most egregious and upsetting of which is simply titled “Netflix Original: Dear White People.” It contains only a photo of the young man kidnapped in Chicago last month, bound and gagged. Is the implication that this show existing on a platform where users can elect not to watch it is in any way similar to a criminal hostage situation? Who fucking knows.
The gist of online umbrage around Dear White People is that it’s being perceived by some extremely thin-skinned people as “anti-white.” Strangely there were no calls to boycott theaters when the movie this series is based on—also called Dear White People—debuted in 2014, or when the deal between Lionsgate and Netflix was announced last year.
Then again, those in need of a safe space to be racist have been boycotting a whole lot lately. /pol/’s Discord chat spent much of the Super Bowl issuing boycotts against companies whose commercials hurt their feelings—including Kia, Audi, Budweiser, and T-Mobile. Prior to that, Starbucks was “threatened” with a boycott of sorts (again) after pledging to hire 10,000 refugees. Back in November a similar online contingent threatened to boycott companies as far-ranging as Pepsi, ConAgra, Facebook, and Tic Tacs (Netflix made that list too.)
As the country becomes increasingly politically divided, those on both sides of the aisle have been making their voices heard with their wallets. A leftist boycott of Uber for its association with the Trump administration resulted in an apology from CEO Travis Kalanick and his resignation from Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum.
Some protests work. This one won’t.