Is Netflix Putting the Wrong People in the Spotlight?


Photo courtesy of

Star of “Tiger King” Joe Exotic.

Chantal Greaves, Arts & Entertainment Editor

It’s almost certain that you’ve heard the words “Tiger King” spoken in the last month or two. In recent years, Netflix has begun to release docu-series, like “Tiger King,” and they’ve become hot topics. However, many of these docu-series have thrust problematic figures, like Joe Exotic, into the spotlight, allowing them to reign the internet in infamy. The question is: should Netflix be making these people famous?

In my opinion, they absolutely should not.

Docu-series like “Tiger King,” “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” and “Don’t F With Cats” are based around generally disliked individuals. They give viewers a glimpse into their convoluted minds and walk them through their infamous history. In “Don’t F With Cats” specifically, the focus of the series was a man named Luka Magnotta who killed to gain infamy. His goal was to be well-known, even if it were for the wrong reasons. By creating an entire series based around his crime story, isn’t Netflix complicit in giving him what he wants?

I do acknowledge that putting these problematic figures into the center of attention might not be Netflix’s agenda. They are an organization that offers these small documentary directors a platform to share their work and their goal is to release interesting content that will please their viewers. However, I don’t think that Netflix is taking into account the influence that they have on the internet and pop culture.

I don’t have a problem with “Tiger King” and “Don’t F With Cats” in theory. They’re both focused around interesting situations that have the potential to teach important lessons. However, it seems that nobody finishes “Tiger King” and remarks on the horror of the mistreatment of big cats. I haven’t heard anyone advocate against murder and internet misuse after watching “Conversations with a Killer” or “Don’t F With Cats.” Instead, viewers emerge with passionate opinions about Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, and Luka Magnotta, and Ted Bundy. 

In short, Netflix’s apparent obsession with thrusting these troublesome individuals into the spotlight disturbs me. I feel as though they’re misusing their platform and pulling attention away from the positive people and stories that should be receiving it. I hope that this is something that they start to change as they begin to release more original content.