Duffy Called on Netflix to Remove a Movie She Says “Glamorizes" Sexual Violence
The singer's own experience with sexual violence pushed her to write the open letter.
Trigger warning: This post discusses sexual violence.
Earlier this year, Welsh singer Duffy shared her story of surviving rape and captivity. Now she's calling out Netflix for streaming a film that she says "glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape," an experience all too similar to her own. In an open letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Duffy asked him to remove the Polish film 365 Days and to understand the many reasons why the film is harmful to those who have endured trafficking and sexual violence.
The movie, which is billed as an erotic drama and tagged as "lavish" and "controversial," follows the story of a young Polish woman and the Sicilian mafia boss who imprisons her, giving her a year to fall in love with him. After debuting on Netflix around the world, the movie is currently sitting in the top 10 list for Netflix in the U.S and in many other countries.
In the open letter, Duffy started by calling the streaming platform "irresponsible" for its decision to show the film and writing that she felt it necessary for her to speak up.
"I don’t want to be in this position to have to write to you, but the virtue of my suffering obliges me to do so, because of a violent experience that I endured of the kind that you have chosen to present as ‘adult erotica,’" she wrote.
The singer explained that the glorification of sexual violence "should not be anyone’s idea of entertainment." She also brought direct attention to the ongoing issue of human trafficking around the world. "I write these words (ones I cannot believe I am writing in 2020, with so much hope and progress gained in recent years), as an estimated 25 million people are currently trafficked around the world, not to mention the untold amounts of people uncounted."
She urged Hastings and others who have watched the film to "stop and pause" and think about that disturbing number, which can be found in the Department of State's 2020 Trafficking In Persons Report. She also added that "of those trafficked annually, no less than 80% are women and girls, and 50% of them are minors," which is consistent with this 2013 report. Though the issue is prevalent across the world, "victims of trafficking and kidnapping are unseen," Duffy wrote.
According to Deadline, 365 Days was a hit at the Polish box office earlier this year, grossing $9 million, and there was reportedly a sequel in the works that was delayed due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Addressing the film's popularity, Duffy encouraged the millions who have watched the film, and those associated with Netflix, to learn more about the issue of human trafficking. She directed readers to read the United Nations' page on human trafficking here and to make pledges and donations to these organizations: Coalition Against Trafficking In Women, Hope For Justice, Polaris Project, Anti Slavery International, Stop The Traffik, Unseen UK, Not For Sale, IJM, A21, and Made For Them. You can read Duffy's full letter here.
Voicing similar concerns as those in Duffy's letter, a change.org petition was created last week calling on Netflix to remove the film, condemning it for "glorifying sex slavery" and "promoting Stockholm Syndrome." You can add your signature here.