Netflix viewers aren't happy about the 'creepy' posters targeting black users
22 October 2018, 18:04
Netflix have since denied the claims.
Netflix may have given us Riverdale and The Haunting of Hill House but some fans of the streaming service aren't happy. Yep, Netflix and Chill is totally off the menu.
The popular TV giant have been accused of deceiving their users of colour with racially-targeted movie artwork. Netflix have been accused of using black actors in their film posters, even though they have minor roles in the movies, putting a totally different spin on the flicks and leaving viewers feeling cheated.
Like Father and Love Actually were just two films found to be using different film posters. Instead of showing the two white leads, the images suggest that African-American actors Blaire Brooks and Leonard Ouzts have major roles in the production. Weird, right?
Disgruntled viewers believe the same is the case with Love Actually. White actors Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Colin Firth play lead roles in the British classic but Netflix advertising used black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in the poster, despite his minor role.
Surprisingly, it's not just Netflix.
Black viewers also discovered that actors from ethnic minorities were shown on the poster for ITV crime drama Lewis rather than its white main characters, played by Laurence Fox and Kevin Whately.
But does marketing really have a dark side?
It was Twitter user Stacia L. Brown who initially raised the alarm, tweeting: "Other Black @netflix users: does your queue do this? Generate posters with the Black cast members on them to try to compel you to watch? This film stars Kristen Bell/Kelsey Grammer and these actors had maaaaybe a 10 cumulative minutes of screen time. 20 lines between them, tops.
"It’s weird to try to pass a film off as having a Black principal cast (by creating a movie poster-like as featuring just the Black people) when it’s a white movie. A very white movie. I’d already watched this one last month so I knew it was a marketing trick. Still.
"Just did another cursory scroll of suggested watches and the posters they gave me."
Other Black @netflix users: does your queue do this? Generate posters with the Black cast members on them to try to compel you to watch? This film stars Kristen Bell/Kelsey Grammer and these actors had maaaaybe a 10 cumulative minutes of screen time. 20 lines between them, tops. pic.twitter.com/Sj7rD8wfOS— stacia l. brown (@slb79) October 18, 2018
Black Netflix users weren't too pleased with the marketing ploy and called it "offensive".
It probably didn't help that Netflix cancelled Luke Cage either, whose main star Mike Colter is an African-American man.
Last year, Netflix revealed that its algorithms were purely based on viewing history, rather than information it had collected on each user.
Responding to the accusations regarding the personalised artwork, Netflix said: "We don't ask members for their race, gender or ethnicity so we cannot use this information to personalise their individual Netflix experience."The only information we use is a member's viewing history."
The amount of films I have gone to watch, thinking it was a black cast. Only for sis to only have a walk-on role. https://t.co/U9bLXWg1F9— Tolly (@tolly_t) October 19, 2018
I hear you 100% I also think this is closer to the intersection of regular creepy marketing and dark patterns/social engineering than most targeting efforts...esp in the first case where it's a bait and switch designed to generate royalties for a netflix title. Bc product i guess— Bela Lugosi's auto-icon (@UnironicFlannel) October 18, 2018
But after I watched 'Naked' with Marlon Wayans I definitely noticed some changes. pic.twitter.com/Oko48Bz9FZ— Kelly Quantrill (@codetrill) October 19, 2018
Tweet us your thoughts @popbuzz.