WASHINGTON - Netflix is removing an episode of the History 101 program that says AIDS originated in Haiti.
“We have seen the concerns raised and, together with the series creators, have decided to remove the episode while we review the issues involved,” a spokesperson for the online streaming service told VOA via email Saturday. Netflix offers users television shows, movies and documentaries.
History 101 is a British TV show produced by ITN productions. It is described on Netflix as “infographics and archival footage [that] deliver bite-size history lessons on scientific breakthroughs, social movements and world-changing discoveries.”
The episode sparked outrage among Haitian Americans, who posted their criticism and started a petition on Instagram and Twitter.
“The framing of the whole doc lacks in world view,” renowned Haitian American DJ Michael Brun posted on Instagram. “For a disease that has affected Africa the hardest, they had 0 scientists or representation from the continent (or Haiti).”
As the @Netflix History 101 doc has been removed and is currently being revised by their team, I wanted to share what my issues were with their HIV / AIDS episode. The biggest issue is irresponsible framing in regards to black communities worldwide and the inclusion of misinformation. I hope more companies can take note and lead their research with a more balanced world view that doesn’t unfairly stigmatize certain groups of people. If anyone wants sources for anything I mention just let me know and I will be happy to share. The reason this is being reviewed by their team is because of fact based research, not because of anger. Let’s lead with truth.
According to The AIDS Institute, a U.S. nonprofit organization that promotes social change, scientists attribute the HIV infection in humans to a type of chimpanzee found in West Africa.
The Haitianroom, a popular Haitian American Instagram account, circulated a petition against the Netflix program that aimed to get 16,000 signatures. By 4:30 p.m. EDT they had obtained 12,488 signatures.
“The lies are part of the reason why many of us had a hard time growing up Haitian!!!” the post said.
Update: they have taken down episode 9 which this was featured in!! We did it guys!!! ✊🏽 The lies are part of the reason why many of us had a hard time growing up Haitian!!!I just signed and donated! Link in my bio if you want to sign the petition (you don't HAVE to donate but it helps if you do ❤️✊🏽🇭🇹) Also call them and request to remove the documentary... Info down below @netflix @strongblacklead . . We are calling Netflix to act responsibly in this matter and remove the episode immediately. In the first quarter of 2020, Netflix had over 182 million paying streaming subscribers worldwide. Of these subscribers, 69.9 million were from the United States. Misinformation is dangerous. We call ITN Production, the producers and researchers of this episode to step forward and support the immediate removal of this episode from Netflix and any other platform that it may have been published. This content should not be share or presented as fact on any media outlets again. Going forward we ask that this stigma against Haiti and Haitian people be put to rest. It is rooted in racism and should no longer be referenced as factual data by anyone researching HIV/AIDS and is origin. In fact, given all of the funding and research that has gone to support HIV/AIDS research over the past 30 years; is important that major corporations and media giants like Netflix help END THE STIGMA not perpetuate it. 1. Cancel your Netflix subscription. 2. Repost the video shared by @_XEAUX_ on Instagram, Twitter and other social media outlets. 3. Use the hashtag #AIDSdidNOTcomefromHaiti, tag @Netflix and @strongblacklead and post the hashtag in their comment section. 4. Contact Netflix to request removal of the video. Main:(888)638-3549 | Customer Service: (866) 579-7172 | Headquarters: (888) 638-3549. 5. Sign the petition. . . . . . . #thehaitianroom #haitianwomen #haitianmen #haitianpeople #haitian #haitians #haiti #ayiti #netflix
Lunionsuite, another popular Haitian American Instagram account that has 150,000 followers, also posted criticism about the episode. On Saturday afternoon it posted a thank-you to followers for putting pressure on the streaming company.
“Netflix History 101 Episode 9 “AIDS” [has] officially been removed by @netflix on their platform!! Thank you to everyone who came together to make this happen in less than 24 hours!! We Did It!!” the post read.
Netflix History 101 Episode 9 “AIDS” has officially been removed by @netflix!!! Thank you to everyone at @netflix for understanding the importance of removing this episode! We’re waiting on an update on whether they will publicly address it, and our community. — We Did It!!! ❤️🇭🇹⚫️✊🏾 @_xeaux_ @orlandooo7 @michaelbrun @leovolcy — #lunionsuite #wematter #ourstorymatters #haitian #haiti #blacklivesmatter
The move comes as thousands worldwide take to the streets to protest racism and to demand justice for George Floyd, an African American man who died in the custody of four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Netflix is one of several technology, banking, apparel and entertainment firms that have issued messages of support for those demonstrating against police treatment of black people.
“To be silent is to be complicit. Black Lives Matter. We have a platform and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up,” the May 30 Netflix post said.