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(Credit: Netflix)

Film

Elon Musk says 'woke virus' is the cause of Netflix failure

Netflix have released a disappointing first-quarter earnings report that has seen shares prices fall by up to 23%. The report also revealed that the streaming site had experienced a significant loss of subscriptions for the first time in more than a decade.

One of the first people to stick their oar in on the matter was none other than the Tesla CEO and richest man on the planet, Elon Musk. The business magnate took to Twitter late on Tuesday night (April 19th) to declare that the streaming company’s decline could be chalked up to the quality of its content, which he described as being virulently “woke”.

“The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” Musk tweeted on his personal account in response to the report detailing how the company had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of business in 2022.

One user, responding to Mr Musk’s original reply, agreed with the tycoon and said: “Woke mind virus is the biggest threat to the civilization,” to which the multi-billionaire responded: “Yes.”

Another commenter responded to the SpaceX founder’s tweet and agreed with him that Netflix had jumped on the so-called “woke garbage” train but claimed that, unfortunately, the entire entertainment industry wasn’t much better.

“Not just Netflix. Movies in general, videogames, tv, it’s all infested with current year trend woke garbage for fear offending green haired freak next to the ban button,” the user wrote, to which Musk replied bluntly: “True”, before adding: “Can they please just make sci-fi/fantasy at least *mostly* about sci-fi/fantasy?”

Musk is currently sparring with the prospect of taking over Twitter. He offered the social media giant $43bn, which only served to force the platform to adopt a so-called “poison pill” to protect itself from a hostile takeover. Following his comments about Netflix, Musk began to receive a host of comments encouraging him to make an offer for Netflix. 

“You gonna buy Netflix too?” wrote one user, while another wrote: “Elon buy Netflix next plz, woke nonsense is ruining so many good TV shows and movies.”

Netflix have given their own insight highlighting the growing presence of streaming services being offered by traditional entertainment companies, the war in Ukraine, and the ongoing problem of password sharing among households as the main causes behind the recent drop in performance. 

After suspending services in Russia, Netflix executives reported that the platform had lost 700,000 subscribers. 

In Musk’s critique of Netflix’s content, he appears to be questioning the company’s efforts to offer a variety of diverse and inclusive content. This has seen a rise in female leads, stories with leading LGBT+ characters and creators and directors for original programming coming from more representative backgrounds.

While it’s not clear whether Musk disagrees with this strategy, it seems that he may be unhappy with how the themes are eclipsing the narrative of some of his favourite sci-fi and fantasy shows.