Posted on May 23, 2022

Netflix Axes Woke Antiracist Baby Show Aimed at Preschoolers Before It Airs

Keith Griffith and Adam Manno, Daily Mail, May 19, 2022

Netflix is scrapping several planned animated series, including a show aimed at preschoolers dubbed Antiracist Baby, according to a new report.

The struggling streaming service is pulling the plug on the show based on the work of scholar Ibram X. Kendi, an expert in critical race theory, as well as several other shows, according to Variety.

Also cancelled are an antiracism documentary written by Kendi, kids’ fantasy series Wings of Fire from executive producer Ava DuVernay, and the children’s film With Kind Regards From Kindergarten.

Netflix insisted that the decision to axe the shows was due to creative reasons rather than cost cutting, though the move comes as the company lays off nearly 2 percent of its staff as revenue growth slows and subscribers flee.

Antiracist Baby, based on Kendi’s book of the same name, had been envisioned as a series of animated vignettes set to music and intended to explore racism in America.

Netflix had previously said that the show would ‘leverage the power of earwormy songs to empower kids and their caregivers with simple tools to uproot racism in ourselves and society.’

Also cancelled was a documentary written by Kendi, titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, which was aimed at teens and young adults.

Netflix is still proceeding with a third Kendi project aimed at adults, titled Stamped From the Beginning.

Together the three project had intended to offer a ‘a timely and thoughtful examination of racism for audiences of all ages,’ according to a press release announcing the deal in January 2021.

Netflix stock, which jumped 3.6 percent on Thursday as the company announced deep cost cuts, is nevertheless down nearly 70 percent so far this year.

Netflix on Tuesday said it had laid off about 150 people, mostly in the United States, as the streaming service company faces slowing growth.

The layoffs represent approximately 2 percent of the company’s workforce in the United States and Canada.

‘These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues,’ the company said in a statement.

‘We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition.’

The job cuts come as Netflix reported its first loss of subscribers in more than a decade and forecast deeper losses in the coming quarter. It said the war in Ukraine and fierce competition contributed to the loss of customers.

As a result of its declining growth, Netflix said it would introduce a cheaper, ad-supported tier and look more closely at its spending.

‘We’re trying to be smart about it and prudent in terms of pulling back on some of that spend growth to reflect the realities of the revenue growth of the business,’ Netflix Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann told investors during the company’s most recent earnings call.

Netflix ended the first quarter of this year with 221.6 million subscribers, slightly less than the final quarter of last year.

The company blamed the quarter-over-quarter erosion to suspension of its service in Russia due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

A drop of just 200,000 users — less than 0.1 percent of its total customer base — was enough to send Wall Street panicking when Netflix reported quarterly earnings in April.

Chief financial officer Spence Neumann said on an earnings call that Netflix would be ‘pulling back’ on spending for the next two years, while continuing to invest billions of dollars in the platform.

The Silicon Valley tech firm reported a net income of $1.6 billion in the recently ended quarter, compared to $1.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Netflix believes that factors hampering its growth include subscribers sharing accounts with people not living in their homes.

The streaming giant estimated that while it has nearly 222 million households paying for its service, accounts are shared with more than 100 million other households not paying subscription fees.

Netflix is testing ways to make money from people sharing accounts, such as by introducing a feature that lets subscribers pay slightly more to add other households.

Last week, Netflix dished out a new ‘culture memo’ to staff telling them if they are offended by content the company is working on, they can seek employment elsewhere.

The guidance came largely in response to workers saying they would part ways with the company if they continued to work with Dave Chappelle, whose recent specials for the streamer have caused backlash over jokes about transgender people.

The new policy, titled ‘Artistic Expression,’ asserts that brass at the company will not ‘censor specific artists or voices’ even if employees consider the content ‘harmful.’

In response to a tweet noting the change, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, ‘Good move by @netflix.’

The tweet came as a stark about-face from an earlier online assertion in April, when the South African-born entrepreneur slammed the streamer for pandering to progressive staffers while hemorrhaging subscribers.

‘The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,’ the world’s richest man wrote at the time, responding to a tweet about the subscription service’s recent abysmal subscriber numbers.

Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet: ‘Can they please just make sci-fi/fantasy at least *mostly* about sci-fi/fantasy?’