Netflix urged to slap warning on 'anxious and stressful' horror films amid fears they'll trigger abuse | The Sun
A BRITISH charity has urged streaming platforms like Netflix to add on-screen trigger warnings and cautions to several of its horror films amid fears that they’ll encourage abuse and discrimination.
Visible differences and disfigurement charity Changing Faces has voiced concerns that the movies will reinforce negative stereotypes that may trigger abuse.
The concern comes amid the increased popularity of horror flicks around Halloween, many of which feature villains with facial disfigurement of scarring. Villainous characters that fit into this category include Halloween's Michael Myers, the Joker and Freddy Krueger.
Changing Faces’ chief executive Heather Blake wrote an open letter to Netflix and other streaming platforms, including BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All4, Prime Video and Max, to ask for sensitivity warnings to be added to the films that feature such characters.
The letter explained that Halloween is often an “anxious and stressful” time for people with disfigurements and noted that films which vilify this are affirming negative stereotypes.
“Villainous characters with scars, marks, burns or conditions are often recreated as costumes, as well as becoming terms of abuse in everyday life,” the letter read.
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It continued: “The film industry plays a role in this by reinforcing old-fashioned and harmful stereotypes.
“These carry through to everyday life for those with visible differences in ways that can have a lasting impact.
“Harmful beliefs can be reinforced through instant access to decades of archived content without explanation of the impact.”
The letter went on to advice streamers to update movie descriptions with warnings about “the negative portrayal of those with visible differences.”
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As well as this, Changing Faces wants films to be preceded by an “on-screen caveat that highlights it contains harmful tropes” with additional resources and support highlighted at the end of the films for anyone who’s been affected by its content.
Reaching its conclusion, the letter said: “Streaming platforms can help raise awareness and move the industry forward by acknowledging these film stereotypes.”
Depicting villains with facial disfigurements and scarring is an ongoing issue in the film industry, but not just in the horror genre.
Campaigners previously contested Rami Malek's portrayal of James Bond baddie Safin who had facial scarring in the 2021 spy film No Time To Die.
Changing Faces have been speaking out on this issue for years and in 2018 the charity launched its I Am Not Your Villain campaign with support from the British Film Institute (BFI) who announced that it would no longer fund films in which villains appear with facial scarring.
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