Netflix is scrapping several planned animated series, including a show aimed at preschoolers called 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 canceled are an anti-racism documentary written by Kendi, executive producer Ava DuVernay’s children’s fantasy series Wings of Fire, and the children’s film With Kind Regards From Kindergarten.
Netflix insisted the decision to scrap the shows was based on creative reasons rather than cost-cutting, though the move came as the company laid off nearly 2 percent of its employees as revenue growth slowed and subscribers flee.
Netflix is scrapping several planned animated series, including a show for preschoolers titled Antiracist Baby, based on a book (above) by Antirast
Netflix had signed a three-project deal with Ibram X. Kendi (above) in January 2021, but now only one of those projects is moving forward, an adult documentary
Antiracist Baby, based on Kendi’s book of the same name, was intended as a series of animated musical vignettes exploring racism in America.
Netflix had previously said that the show would “use the power of catchy songs to empower children and their caregivers with simple tools to eradicate racism in us and in society.”
Also canceled was a documentary film titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, written by Kendi and aimed at teenagers and young adults.
Netflix is still working on a third Kendi project aimed at adults, titled Stamped From the Beginning.
Together, the three projects had intended to offer a “timely and thoughtful exploration of racism for audiences of all ages,” according to a press release announcing the deal in January 2021.
Netflix stock, which rose 3.6 percent on Thursday as the company announced deep cost cuts, is still down nearly 70 percent this year.
Netflix stock, which rose 3.6 percent on Thursday as the company announced deep cost cuts, is still down nearly 70 percent this year
Netflix has also canceled executive producer Ava DuVernay’s children’s fantasy series Wings of Fire and children’s film With Kind Regards From Kindergarten
Netflix said Tuesday it had laid off about 150 employees, mostly in the United States, as the streaming services company faces slowing growth.
The layoffs represent approximately 2 percent of the company’s workforce in the United States and Canada.
“These changes are driven primarily by business needs rather than individual performance, making them particularly difficult as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues,” the company said in a statement.
“We are 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 larger losses in the coming quarter. The war in Ukraine and fierce competition contributed to the loss of customers.
As a result of declining growth, Netflix said it would roll out a cheaper, ad-supported tier and take a closer look at its spending.
“We’re trying to be smart and prudent about scaling back some of that spending growth to reflect the realities of the company’s revenue growth,” Spencer Neumann, Netflix’s chief financial officer, told investors during the company’s recent earnings call.
Netflix ended the first quarter of this year with 221.6 million subscribers, down slightly from the last quarter last year.
Netflix is cutting 150 of its 11,000 jobs on Tuesday. Above, the company’s headquarters on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood
The company blamed the quarterly erosion on the suspension of its service in Russia due to the Moscow invasion of Ukraine.
A drop of just 200,000 users — less than 0.1 percent of its entire subscriber base — was enough to send Wall Street into a panic when Netflix reported quarterly earnings in April.
Chief Financial Officer Spence Neumann said on a conference call that Netflix will “pull back” spending for the next two years while continuing to invest billions of dollars in the platform.
The Silicon Valley technology company reported net income of $1.6 billion for the recently ended quarter, compared to $1.7 billion for the same period last year.
Netflix believes that among the factors holding back its growth are subscribers sharing accounts with people who don’t live in their homes.
The streaming giant estimates that although almost 222 million households pay for its service, accounts are shared with more than 100 million other households that don’t pay subscription fees.
Netflix is testing ways to make money from people who share accounts, such as introducing a feature that allows subscribers to pay a little more to add other households.
Last week, Netflix distributed a new “culture memo” to employees, telling them that if they’re offended by content the company is working on, they can seek employment elsewhere.
The guidance came largely in response to workers who said they would part ways with the company if they continued working with Dave Chappelle, whose recent specials for the streamer have sparked backlash over jokes about transgender people.
Protests erupted outside of Netflix last year when employees left their LA campus over comments made by Dave Chapelle on specials for the streamer
Netflix issued guidance in response to workers who said they would part ways if they continued working with Dave Chappelle, whose recent specials for the streamer have sparked backlash over jokes about transgender people
Last week, the LA-based streaming service distributed a new “culture memo” to employees, telling them they can leave the company if they’re offended by content the company is working on. In response to a tweet mentioning the change, Musk tweeted, “Nice move by @netflix.”
The tweet is a clear reversal from a previous online claim by the Tesla CEO in April, in which he criticized the streamer for pandering to progressive employees while inflicting bleeding on subscribers
The new policy, entitled “Artistic Expression,” reinforces this influence on the company will “not censor specific artists or voices” even if employees deem the content “harmful.”
In response to a tweet mentioning the change, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Nice move by @netflix.”
The tweet was a stark reversal from a previous online claim in April, when the South African-born entrepreneur slammed the streamer for pandering to progressive employees while inflicting bleeding on subscribers.
“The wake-mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” wrote what was then the world’s richest man, responding to a tweet about the subscription service’s recent miserable subscriber numbers.
Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet, “Can you please make sci-fi/fantasy about sci-fi/fantasy at least *mostly*?”