Netflix's ‘Byron Baes’: Byron Bay residents want filming canceled, don't want town's name used as 'punch line'

'We do not want to be cast as the perfect backdrop and magnet for social media influencers. We do not want to appear in 'Byron Baes', reads the petition


                            Netflix's ‘Byron Baes’: Byron Bay residents want filming canceled, don't want town's name used as 'punch line'
An aerial view of The Pass at Byron Bay (Getty Images)
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Thousands of people have signed a petition objecting to the filming of Netflix’s proposed reality series ‘Byron Baes’ over influencer culture. Netflix is set to start the production of the reality show in the picturesque Australian town on the New South Wales north coast, which is popular for its surf beaches and relaxed lifestyle. But the locals have asked the streaming giant to stop the shooting.

The petition stated, “The environment and community of Byron Bay and the larger Northern Rivers region are being used as a filming backdrop for a ‘docu-soap’ titled 'Byron Baes'. We, the community want all relevant statutory authorities to refuse to grant the production filming permits for any and all local and state government land, roads, parks, and waterways proposed for use during filming of the series. We further request that any filming permits already granted be rescinded in light of the detrimental impact to both our community and the environment. We want the local government areas and state based authorities to prioritise community concern about the impact of the series in line with the relevant filming permit policies.”

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However, Netflix said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop (for the ’gram).⁣⁣⁣ ⁣And there’s no better backdrop – or magnet for influencers – than Byron Bay, the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original.”

The petition added why filming should not happen at Byron Bay. It continued, “We, the community of Byron, Ballina, Tweed, and Lismore Shires are not the perfect backdrop for this series. We are a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents. We do not want to be cast as the perfect backdrop and magnet for social media influencers. We do not want to appear in 'Byron Baes'.”

“Rather than using our region as a reality show punch line we want our Local, State and Federal government representatives and relevant regulatory authorities to focus on supporting our community to address systemic issues of housing affordability, coastal erosion, increasing unemployment, traffic management challenges, low high school completion rates and high levels of gendered and domestic violence. We want our voice to be heard and we do not want to deal with the fallout of being showcased on a global stage in a way that can only harm our local environment and community,” the petition added.

This is not the first time, Netflix has faced such opposition. Earlier, in 2019, a petition passed 2.3 million signatures that objected to the Netflix Christmas special featuring a gay Jesus and pot-smoking Virgin Mary. Also, last year, over 205,000 signed a petition to cancel a French film called ‘Cuties’. “This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN-year-old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!” the 2020 petition read.

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