They’ve only done one right thing in a long history of miserable decision making…
Kudos to Netflix For Dropping Farrakhan ‘Documentary’
Those who create the magic that is Hollywood are currently confronting a multitude of challenges, from new technologies to mega-mergers to working with partners from cultures far different than our own. Another challenge facing studios, content creators and social media companies is how to navigate the sometimes thin line between freedom of speech and dangerous hate that should not be tolerated. For that reason, some were concerned this week by Netflix’s eleventh-hour decision not to stream a 2013 film about Louis Farrakhan that was produced by his son. That wasn’t the case, however, for us at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
We are convinced that Netflix did the right thing, and we thank them for doing it. Here’s why.
In 1997, Simon Wiesenthal, the late heroic Nazi hunter, agreed to bestow his name on our new institution with one caveat: You must fight the new haters with the same vigor that I pursue the old ones. For 40 years, we have strived to live up to our end of the deal, as haters have come in and out of the picture. There were aging Nazi criminals and, since the 1978 Skokie March, young (neo) Nazis. There was state-sponsored anti-Semitism from the now-defunct Soviet Union, and genocidal anti-Semitism from today’s Ayatollahs in Iran. And, in the 1980s, bigots spread their message by putting flyers under windshield wipers, while bigots today do so via social media.
Over the years, one man, the “honorable” Rev. Farrakhan, has never deviated from his hate. In 1985, his full-blown demagogic attack at the Forum, before a roaring crowd of 14,000, led Hollywood icon and founding Simon Wiesenthal Center Board member, Frank Sinatra, to express his concerns to us about Farrakhan’s bigotry and urge us to “keep fighting!”