While a good amount of us are trying to cut back on the number of cigarettes we ingest per day, week, and year, it looks like Netflix is going to be cutting back as well soon. This update comes on the heels of the recent release of the third season of the streaming giant and The Duffer Brothers' hit teen sci-fi horror series Stranger Things. With the release of the new season, Truth Initiative, an anti-smoking group released a report claiming that Netflix - and especially Stranger Things - was one of the biggest offenders in depicting tobacco use more often than even broadcast or cable shows.
The Truth Initiative report reads as follows.
"The popularity of streaming combined with the pervasive rise of smoking in episodic content points to an emerging threat to a new generation of young Americans. Truth Initiative tracked not just instances of smoking, but any appearance of tobacco products."
And in the wake of this report, Netflix has fired back a response saying that they will be cutting down on the use of smoking and e-cigarettes, and will be monitoring its content aimed at young viewers more closely. In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said the streaming service has come up with a specific plan of action which will protect and inform viewers of the dangers of smoking. Specifically, they said this.
"Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful, and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people. Going forward, all new projects that we commission with ratings of TV-14 or below for series or PG-13 or below for films, will be smoking and e-cigarette free - except for reasons of historical or factual accuracy. For new projects with higher ratings, there'll be no smoking or e-cigarettes unless it's essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it's character-defining (historically or culturally important). In addition, starting later this year, smoking information will be included as part of our ratings on the Netflix service so our members can make informed choices about what they watch."
Read the full Truth Initiative report here.
Okay so let me get this straight. Netflix "recognizes that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people," but they will continue to let shows and movies use tobacco all the live-long day as long as they deem it to be historical or factually accurate. Like how everyone back in the '80s smoked, right? So I guess this means Stranger Things will continue to display Hopper and company knocking back more cigarettes than my brother-in-law at a Nine Inch Nails concert in the name of factual accuracy. Sounds like a loophole to me. That said, I do think it's a solid choice for the streaming giant to include smoking information in their ratings so members can choose to watch the show/movie or not. So that's something.
However you feel about this issue, you can still enjoy the awesomeness that is Stranger Things 3 over on Netflix as we speak. And I highly suggest you do. This story comes to us from Entertainment Weekly.