Netflix's 'Siempre Bruja’ is being criticised for its controversial slave romance storyline

5 February 2019, 16:42

Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Netflix viewers are calling out the problematic love story at the heart of the Spanish language drama 'Siempre Bruja' aka 'Always A Witch'.

The highly anticipated Spanish language drama Siempre Bruja (Always A Witch) dropped on Netflix at the beginning of February and fans have expressed concern over one of its major plot points. In Siempre Bruja, Carmen, an afro-latina witch, is sent forward in time after being burnt at the stake in the 1600s.

The element that has fans feeling uneasy is Carmen's relationship with her slave master's son, Cristobal, and her illogical desire return to life as a slave, despite being a free woman in the modern world.

Netflix Siempre Bruja
Netflix's 'Siempre Bruja'. Picture: Netflix

Warning spoilers ahead:

At the beginning of episode 1, fans are introduced to Carmen who is shown being sold on a slave auction block. After sharing a flirtatious gaze, Cristobal convinces his father to buy Carmen so he can be with her.

When they are caught together, Carmen is sentenced to death and Cristobal is shot. While awaiting her death sentence, Carmen agrees to be sent to the future with the help of a powerful wizard and does so with the express hope that she will be able to return to a time where Cristobal is still alive and they are together.

Any relationship that begins with someone being bought and sold feels problematic and the internet has major thoughts about Siempre Bruja.

It's hard for a lot of people to fathom Carmen doing all this to return to slavery.

The idea that slavery would be something anyone would choose to return to shows a fundamental misrepresentation of an institution whose harmful effects can still be felt today.

Many thought there was a missed opportunity with Siempre Bruja.

Many people hadn't realised that Carmen's mission would revolve around her voluntarily sending herself back into slavery. Funnily enough, the story of a witch sent to the present could have actually worked well without anchoring Carmen to the son of a slave owner.

And, of course, the timing was... not ideal.

Black History Month? Really? We're doing this during Black History Month?

However, there were some people who were willing to give the show a chance despite these plot points.

Truthfully, Siempre Bruja has a strong lead, a fascinating overall premise, and a global audience that was ready to support the representation of an afro-latina witch. Unfortunately, there is very little that is empowering in 2019 about the portrayal of a woman dying to return to slavery because of a man.

What do you guys think? Have you been enjoying Siempre Bruja aka Always A Witch?