When Netflix Goes Cancel Culture

Cancel Culture Comes to Netflix

April 5, 2022

The "slap heard 'round the world' from this year's Academy Awards is still reverberating. As the fallout from Will Smith's stark strike on comedian Chris Rock continues to fall, its impact on streaming is starting to rear its ugly heads. The consequences also speak to just how much streaming services have become less independent and more tied to big-name actors/actresses.

The Canceling of Will Smith and the Denial of Content

From its inception, cord-cutting services were built on the concept of independence. Service providers were ostensibly independent of Hollywood, going their own route and creating their own award-winning content outside of the normal Hollywood pathways. For customers, cord-cutting services meant breaking free from the chains of long-term and high-priced contracts. Since the early 2010s, there's been a notable shift in both of those ends. Cord-cutting service prices have risen, some services have become a bit more (but not overwhelmingly) restrictive, and Hollywood has become to accept the inevitability of service providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime being content producers that can't be ignored.

So it is that when big-named actors like Will Smith do bad things, cord-cutting services may feel the need to bow to social pressure more than ever. In the case of Will Smith, that has resulted in some companies putting a halt on existing contracts and content in the pipeline with the actor's name on it.

1. What Happened with Will Smith?

In case you somehow missed the memo, last week at the Oscars, Chris Rock made an off-color and off-script joke that involved Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The joke, referencing G.I. Jane, was poking fun at Jada Smith's baldness, the cause of which is the medical condition called alopecia.

In response, Will Smith casually took to the stage, and in an equally unscripted moment, slapped Chris Rock in the face. After which, he returned to his seat and twice yelled at Rock to "Keep my wife's name out your f****** mouth".

2. The Fallout

The fallout has been rather swift. For starters, Will Smith was roundly condemned for what he did. While many acknowledge that Rock's joke was out of line, Smith resorting to physical violence as a solution has not gone over well. Smith has since

(although he gets to keep his Oscar for Best Actor).

In more recent news, content producers are also starting to cancel Smith's content. That includes Netflix, which is reportedly

. The upcoming movie "Bad Boys 4" from Sony has also been put on hold.

3. How Bad Is "Too Bad to Produce?"

Streaming services now thrive off of their original content. However, they're also leaning more heavily into big-named Hollywood actors to attract audiences. But when actors and actresses have bad behavior, it seems content providers are more prone to cancel content. However, for paying subscribers, that can feel like a punishment, particularly for paying subscribers.

Now, many subscribers will be asking: "Is what Will Smith did bad enough to cancel content?" That's a question that may come up even more in the future as Netflix and others rely on big-name actors whose public behavior can negatively impact content producers.

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Watch 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Director's Edition' on Paramount+

Real Star Trek fans wanted. The original Motion Picture with the Director's Cut is available on Paramount+ today (April 5). -

  2. Elon Musk Biopic 'Return to Space' Streaming on Netflix 

Step into the mind of the real-life Tony Stark. Netflix documentary 'Return to Space' explores Musk and his SpaceX program. Streaming on Netflix this Thursday (April 7). -

  3. HBO May Have a Hit with New 'Tokyo Vice' Series 

Jake Adelstein, an American journalist, plugs into the Tokyo Vice police squad and descends into the neon underbelly of Tokyo. Stream in HBO Max this Thursday (April 7) -

4. VICE Dives into Strange Cults In Upcoming Mini-Series, 'True Believers'

Would you recognize a cult if you were in one? This new mini-series takes a deep dive into several known cults and exposes their culture and inner workings. Streaming on Vice TV Monday, April 11, at 10 PM EST. -

News and Industry Developments

1. Want Cheaper Netflix? Stop Sharing Your Password

According to multiple studies, services like Netflix recoup the cost of password sharing by raising prices. -

2. Hulu Will Be Streaming a Live-Action 'Spirited Away' this Summer

Nobody really asked for it, but we're getting it anyway. -

3. Picture-in-Picture Support Available on YouTube TV for iOS users

Minimize those screens, friends! -

4. Paramount+ Offering More U.K. Originals

Exactly what we need as a break from more Trek. -

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