Netflix no to UK request to disclaimer for ‘The Crown’ episodes

Netflix has declined a request made by the British Government to include a disclaimer before episodes of The Crown in the wake of the show’s fourth season and its depiction of the royal family, particularly that of Queen Elizabeth II and the late Princess Diana.

“We have always presented The Crown as a drama — and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” Netflix told Deadline. “As a result, we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.”

Earlier this week, UK Culture secretary Oliver Dowden wrote a letter to the streaming service on behalf of his government, requesting the disclaimer to make clear to Netflix’s 195 million subscribers that many of the stories and events depicted in the show were merely fictitious dramatizations.

“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

The Crown‘s fourth season has received a lot of press coverage in the UK, as the new season largely deals with the tumultuous marriage between Prince Charles and Diana. Written by Peter Morgan, this is not the first time the award-winning drama has been accused of historic fabrications or omitting major events from history such as the 1972 Blood Sunday massacre.

Charles Spencer, brother of Princess Diana, has also raised concerns that most of the people treating The Crown as a “history lesson” are Americans. “It is very hard, there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact,” Spencer said.

Last month, The Times of London published an article with the headline “Royal dismay over ‘cruelty’ of The Crown.” In it, friends of Prince Charles criticized Morgan’s fictionalized letter between Mountbatten and the Prince. “That isn’t right or fair, particularly when so many of the things being depicted don’t represent the truth,” a source told the outlet. “This is trolling with a Hollywood budget.”

Furthermore, Prince William was said to be upset by the scenes that show Charles verbally abusing Diana. A source said he feels “his parents are being exploited and presented in a false, simplistic way to make money.”

Early seasons of The Crown took place 50, 60, 70 years ago. Many of the real-life figures that the characters were based on, such as Winston Churchill, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother, have passed on. But, as The Crown inches more toward modern day, it finds itself in tricky territory: how does one ethically dramatize the lives of the very much living?

Season 4 of The Crown stars Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Gillian Anderson, Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin.

Image courtesy of (Publicity Still)

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