'Avatar: The Last Airbender': Netflix movie falls prey to cancel culture as fans petition for appropriate casting
A Change.org petition demanding cultural representation and right age appropriation has reached over 6,000 signatures by August 13 after the creators quit the show
The creators of the famous animated series 'Avatar: The Last Airbender', Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced that they will no longer be working on its live-action series adaptation set for Netflix and the announcement took the internet by storm on August 12.
Fans were so distraught by the news that they started petitions asking “Netflix to NOT butcher the ATLA Live-Action Series” and demanded cultural representation and right age appropriation. The petition demanding the same has now reached over 6,000 signatures by August 13 after the creators quit the show and fans are almost ready to cancel the Netflix adaptation over these concerns.
A reimagined, live-action “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series is coming to Netflix!— Netflix Queue (@netflixqueue) September 18, 2018
(ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇᴘᴛ ᴀʀᴛ ʙʏ Jᴏʜɴ Sᴛᴀᴜʙ) pic.twitter.com/YsMoE4UguV
As we reported earlier the Change.org petition had 1,676 signatures as on August 12. It said, “The show is problematic as it is, but in light of Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino’s decision to leave and not take part in the project, despite working on it for two years, we fear that the live-action remake is going to be butchered even worse, and could lead to microaggressions in real life, and contribute to racial injustices because people fail to see minorities as real people with real voices.” Fans are concerned primarily about the casting of actors in the live-action series where they demand proper representation of the character's origins. The petition says, “For instance, the cast members for Katara and Sokka must be Native, not white but native. Casting White people in the series will render the original series and ruin the entire ATLA live-action, as seen with the horrible ATLA movie back in 2010 by M. Night Shyamalan.”
The petition stresses that more and more BIPOC’s (black, indigenous, persons of color) are voicing their insights and concerns on the “awfully veiled” cultural inaccuracies that the show provided. The petition protests the subtle insensitivity toward certain subjects like Lake Laogai and Tibetan genocide and the promotion of harmful stereotypes showing Arab/Muslims as barbarians, etc.
The second major concern is that of age appropriation. The petition demands that the characters' be age-appropriate, as seen in the animated series and shouldn't be aged up to sexualize them.
The last major concern for petitioners is that the live-action remake should not depict a “colonizer/colonized romance”. If this happens it might be offensive to the Natives. Such a portrayal will not be appropriate and will be harmful given the Native people’s history where colonizers looted and stole from their tribes. Though DiMartino wrote in an open letter assuring the disappointed fans saying that Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good, fans are not convinced by his claims. They are skeptical and dismayed and still concerned about cultural and age-appropriation. Now they are demanding the movie be canceled.
“So disappointed in Netflix. Cancel ATLA LiveAction”, one wrote and another reminded fans to tune into another air-bending fantasy 'The Legend of Korra'.
“While we're canceling netflix, don't forget to stream legend of Korra in few hours. Cancel ATLA Live-Action”.
Many voices highlighted the aging of minor characters for the purpose of sexualization in the Netflix adaptation and are called it out. “Cancel ATLA Live Action as I refuse to let Netflix ruin these characters that shaped my childhood by sexualizing them, erasing their amazing personalities, or turning them into seasonless white girls”.
#CancelATLALiveAction bc i refuse to let netflix ruin these characters that shaped my childhood by sexualizing them, erasing their amazing personalities, or turning them into seasonless white girls pic.twitter.com/FzWOMCmreP— katara’s hair loopies 🃏 (@zukosjoint) August 14, 2020
“THEY ARE GONNA WHITEWASH THE CHARACTERS AND MAKE THEM DO SEXUAL THINGS #CancelATLALiveAction,” one wrote.
“Netflix wants to open casting to White people in a show that doesn’t have white characters?” feared one user.
Others are demanded change by sharing the petitions on the Internet. “Please sign this petition, there's no telling if it’ll make a difference but it’s worth a shot! Proper BIPOC representation is SOOOO important, ” wrote one.