The streaming service agreed to work with Kiev after the culture minister called out the ‘insulting’ portrayal of a Ukrainian girl in one show
Netflix “has heard” about the concerns of Ukrainian viewers of the series ‘Emily in Paris’, and agreed to work with Kiev to avoid “offensive” depictions of Ukrainians, the culture minister has said.
On December 24, Culture Minister Aleksandr Tkachenko took to Telegram to express his dissatisfaction with the depiction of a new character in the series ‘Emily in Paris’, a woman named Petra, played by Ukrainian actress Daria Panchenko.
Petra, who speaks with a heavy Eastern European accent, meets Emily, played by Lily Collins, at their French class. As a result of a linguistic misunderstanding, Petra involves Emily in shoplifting, which ruins their friendship from the start.
“In ‘Emily in Paris’ we have a caricature of a Ukrainian woman which is unacceptable. On the other hand, it is also offensive. Is that how Ukrainians are seen abroad? As someone who steals, wants to get everything for free, is afraid of deportation? That should not be the case,” Tkachenko wrote, announcing that he was making an official complaint to the streaming service.
He did not have to wait long for a reply. A few days later, the minister told dev.ua that the streaming service had sent him a “rather diplomatic response” and “thanked [him] for the feedback.”
“They heard about Ukrainian viewers’ concerns about the depiction of a Ukrainian girl. Agreed that in 2022 we’ll be in closer touch to prevent such cases from happening,” Tkachenko said.
He added that the situation has raised the issue of Ukraine’s image abroad.
This is not the first time the series has drawn criticism for promoting stereotypes.
Canadian fashion journalist Monica de La Villardière, who lives in Paris, penned an open letter to the series’ main character.
Saying that due to the film’s popularity, “my nightmares are filled with you, Emily,” she discusses aspects of Parisian life which, in her opinion, are misrepresented in the show.