Netflix says it will implement changes going forward after the arrival of a new season of its hit show “Stranger Things” sparked criticism over the youth-oriented series’ depiction of smoking.
“Netflix says it will cut back on depictions of smoking in its shows in the wake of a report that called out the streamer for the number of instances in which characters use tobacco in shows like ‘Stranger Things,'” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.
The report quotes a Netflix spokesperson saying: “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).”
The announcement comes after a report by the nonprofit public health organization The Truth Initiative, which is trying to eliminate tobacco use, examined the use of tobacco in 13 shows across broadcast, cable and streaming services.
“The study found that, for a second consecutive year, Netflix ‘topped the list with nearly triple the number of tobacco instances (866) compared with the prior year (299),'” THR reports.
THR quotes the report saying: “Smoking on the small screen has gone from common to nearly unavoidable, as popular programs like ‘Stranger Things,’ [Netflix’s] ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and [ABC’s] ‘Modern Family’ increasingly show images of tobacco and portray characters who smoke.”