Following Outrage, Netflix Nixes Plan to Air Laudatory Louis Farrakhan Documentary
The online streaming giant Netflix said it would not air a documentary that celebrates the life of Nation of Islam leader and prominent antisemite Louis Farrakhan.
An initial plan to release the film was promoted by Farrakhan on Monday, who tweeted, “On August 1st, watch the premiere of my music documentary ‘My Life’s Journey Through Music’ on @netflix.”
— MINISTER FARRAKHAN (@LouisFarrakhan) July 31, 2018
Following outrage from a number of leading Jewish groups on Tuesday morning, a Netflix spokesperson later told Fox News that the initial announcement was due to “an internal miscommunication.”
“This film will not be released on Netflix,” the spokesperson said. “We apologize for any confusion this has caused.”
Farrakhan has a decades-long history of antisemitic statements. He resurfaced earlier this year with a particularly violent rant delivered on May 27, in which he blamed Jews for everything from gay marriage to controlling former President Barack Obama, referring to the “Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan.”
“Whenever you read that God has told the Jews to hear and obey, and they say, ‘I hear and I disobey,’ that’s Satan. … [The Jews] are openly disobeying God,” Farrakhan said. “He [a Jew] will take down the whole world with him.”
“Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kinds of debauchery, and they give you a little part? It’s called the casting couch,” he added. “See, that’s Jewish power.”
Earlier on Tuesday, in response to news of the impending Netflix broadcast, the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Algemeiner, “We hope that Netflix is planning to afford the opportunity to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and other critics to share with Netflix viewers Farrakhan’s six decades long history of bigotry and anti-Semitism.”
B’nai Brith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin also weighed in, saying in a statement, “We condemn Netflix’s decision to stream ‘The Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan: My Life’s Journey Through Music.’”
“Though Netflix is calling this a documentary, it’s nothing more than a promotional video,” they continued. “How can Netflix, knowing about Farrakhan’s long history of anti-Semitism, misogyny and racism, his long and unbroken record of bigotry and intolerance, run this? With so many important stories to tell, to choose this raises serious questions about Netflix’s due diligence and judgment.”
Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress — North America, said of the film, “At a time when Netflix has announced that it plans to bring more faith and family-based shows to its subscribers, its choice of offering a film on the life of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is deeply dismaying.”
“Anyone familiar with the frequent bigoted, anti-Semitic statements Farrakhan has made continuously over many years can only be shocked at this puzzling and incomprehensible choice,” she added. “His vicious tirades are replete with the most anti-Semitic and libelous canards and threats, putting him in the same category with the worst haters of the Jewish people. Unfortunately, at a time when anti-Semitism is again on the rise, Farrakhan reaches a wide audience, spewing poisoned rhetoric at conferences and in media outlets, including social media, garnering supporters, even among some public figures and celebrities.”
“Netflix should reconsider this decision,” she stated. “It is not in keeping with their purported goal of serving a family-based audience.”
The documentary is said to chronicle both Farrakhan’s life and his musical endeavors. Farrakhan was a singer before he joined the Nation of Islam and is a classical violinist. The film also features contributions from prominent black artists, including Stevie Wonder and reggae legend Bob Marley’s son Damian.
Executive produced by Farrakhan’s son Joshua, the film appears to be a tribute to the Nation of Islam leader. The NOI’s official publication The Final Call reported on the picture’s 2014 premiere, and quoted Joshua Farrakhan saying, “I got tired of the media telling me who my father is. Who better to tell the world about who he is than someone who’s known him all his life!”
“Tonight, this documentary will expand your heart to love him even more,” he added. “I’m coming back after the viewing to ask did I expand your heart.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Netflix’s decision not to air the Farrakhan documentary.