Here’s everything you need to know about the Love Actually Netflix advert controversy

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  • What does it all mean?

    Christmas is officially on its way and it’s safe to say we can all prepare for a few months of mince pies, log fires and binge-watching Christmas films.

    The number one film on most of our Christmas lists? Love Actually.

    From Rowan Atkinson’s hilarious gift wrapping scene to the heartbreaking moment when Emma Thompson opens the Joni Mitchell CD instead of a gold necklace, we all remember that film like we lived it ourselves.

    Love Actually

    This month however, the Richard Curtis classic has made headlines for a different reason – an advert controversy, but it’s not the film but its streaming service, Netflix, that has come under fire.

    Confused? We’ll talk you through it.

    Netflix has been accused by some of its subscribers of using controversial advertising tactics, with speculation spreading that the streaming service changes the film thumbnail photos depending on the subscriber.

    This theory spread across the internet just this week when Netflix subscribers reported seeing different thumbnail photos to people of a different skin colour.

    Several black Netflix users noticed that instead of a photo of the film’s leads, Hugh Grant or Colin Firth, their thumbnail was of Chiwetel Ejiofor, despite the actor only playing a minor role in the film.



    And it didn’t stop there, with other black subscribers reporting to seeing predominantly black cast members on the thumbnail photos in their Netflix queues, from Like Father to The Good Cop.

    ‘Other Black @netflix users: does your queue do this? Generate posters with the Black cast members on them to try to compel you to watch?,’ one subscriber Stacia l. Brown posted to Twitter. ‘This film stars Kristen Bell/Kelsey Grammer and these actors had maaaaybe a 10 cumulative minutes of screen time. 20 lines between them, tops.’

    Later she posted another tweet: ‘Just did another cursory scroll of suggested watches and the posters they gave me.’

    Netflix has since responded to the accusations, announcing: ‘We don’t ask members for their race, gender or ethnicity so we cannot use this information to personalise their individual Netflix experience. The only information we use is a member’s viewing history.’

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