Posted on December 12, 2023

Obama Faces Backlash for Film’s ‘Warning’ About White People

Natalie Venegas, Newsweek, December 11, 2023

Former President Barack Obama is facing backlash on Monday over a film on which he was a consultant, which “warns” about white people.

After concluding his presidency in 2017, Obama has written a bestselling memoir and signed a deal with Netflix to produce films and television series. The former president has also created Higher Ground, a production company co-led by his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, in which projects were set to touch on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights.


More recently, Obama served as a consultant on Sam Esmail’s latest film, Leave the World Behind, based on Rumaan Alam’s novel of the same name.

The film, which was released on Netflix Friday, follows two families forced to work together amid a nationwide blackout. As the threat grows, both families must decide how best to survive the potential crisis, all while grappling with their places in the collapsing world.

The former president and first lady signed on to produce the film last year, and as part of the deal, Obama was able to share his perspective on the events that unfolded on screen.

According to Vanity Fair, while writing the script, Esmail consulted Obama, hoping that his perspective would “ground” the story and make it more realistic. Esmail added that Obama thought the script was fairly close to how a crisis would actually pan out in the real world.

“He had a lot [of] notes about the characters and the empathy we would have for them,” Esmail told the magazine. {snip}

However, since the film’s release on Netflix, some have taken to X, formerly Twitter, to share their thoughts on a specific scene in the movie.


The scene in question shows a Black couple lying in bed as the lines, “I’m asking you to remember that if the world falls apart, trust should not be doled out easily to anyone, especially white people.”

X user Libs of TikTok noted the scene, while claiming the scene was “demonizing” toward white people.