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AfriForum vs Netflix vs discrimination: Showdown over ‘blacks-only film fund’

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Oct 29, 2021

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has launched a petition against Netflix for “blatant discrimination” after the streaming platform introduced a Black Creatives Empowerment Fund for young black filmmakers. 

NETFLIX: BLACK CREATIVES EMPOWERMENT FUND

In September, Netflix announced that they are designating R6.1 million to “support black representation in the film and television industry”.

Two thirds of the R6.1 million will go to scholarships and cancelling student debt while one third of the money will be donated to the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective.

“The Netflix Black Creatives Empowerment Fund will be implemented in a two-pronged approach: The first being a $100,000 (about R1.53m) grant in benefit of The Independent Black Filmmakers Collective NPC (IBFC), with the second being $300,000 (about R4.58m) designated towards funding full scholarships at higher education institutions in SA to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring black creatives in the film and TV disciplines,” said Netflix in a statement.

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AFRIFORUM ACCUSES NETFLIX OF ‘BLATANT DISCRIMINATION’

AfriForum has launched a petition against Netflix for “blatant discrimination”. This is because the civil rights organisation feels Netflix is excluding students “based on the colour of their skin, regardless of their financial background”.

The petition is titled “Netflix, is my subscription too white?”

“The online streaming entertainment service Netflix recently launched a scholarship for 2022 post-graduates who are pursuing qualifications in the film or TV genre. However, one of the main qualifying criteria is that the applicant must be black, as defined by the B-BBEE Code of Conduct,” reads the petition.

“Therefore, aspiring white students who want to apply for this scholarship will be rejected outright based solely on the colour of their skin and regardless of their financial background. To demonstrate how cruelly discriminatory this scholarship is, its criteria favour the black child of a politician or billionaire over the white child of an unemployed household,” the petition continues.

‘Criteria favours the black child of a rich politician’

The campaign officer for strategy and content at AfriForum Ernst van Zyl said the scholarship favours the black child of a rich politician or billionaire over a white child of a poor household.

“To demonstrate how cruelly discriminatory this scholarship is, its criteria favours the black child of a rich politician or billionaire over a white child of an impoverished household.”

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