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Elon Musk says Netflix losing subscribers because 'the woke mind virus' is making it 'unwatchable'

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Elon Musk, Tesla CEO. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Elon Musk said Netflix is losing subscribers over "the woke mind virus."
  • Netflix revealed on Tuesday that it had bled 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter.
  • Musk has criticised "wokeness" in the past and said it will lead to a "humourless society."
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Elon Musk took a jab at Netflix on Tuesday night after the streaming service reported it had lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade.

"The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable," Musk tweeted in response to an article on Netflix's shares falling 20%.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix shares were on course for their worst day in nearly a decade as the stock fell over 27% in premarket trading.

In a letter to shareholders on Tuesday, the company projected that it could lose two million subscribers next year. It cited several issues that had negatively affected the company's growth, including mass password sharing and competition from other streaming services. 

The richest man in the world commented further on the issue, agreeing with Twitter a user who said the "Woke mind virus is the biggest threat to civilization," as well as another user who said it has impacted the media in general.

"Can they please just make sci-fi/fantasy at least *mostly* about sci-fi/fantasy?" Musk tweeted.

Musk has criticized "wokeness" in the past. Last year, in an interview with the satirical conservative publication, The Babylon Bee, the Tesla CEO said "wokeness basically wants to make comedy illegal" and commented on efforts to shut down his friend Dave Chappelle's standup special on Netflix, which many people criticised as transphobic.

"Come on, man, that's crazy," Musk said. "Do we want a humourless society that is simply rife with condemnation and hate basically? At its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It basically gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armoured in false virtue."

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the streamer's decision to keep Chappelle's stand-up special last fall. 

Musk has partnered with Netflix on several documentaries that have shown the SpaceX CEO in a generally positive light. In September, the streamer released the docuseries "Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space," which followed SpaceX's first all-civilian spaceflight. More recently, Netflix released "Return to Space" a documentary that took viewers into Musk's two-decade mission to revolutionise space travel.

In his jab at Netflix, Musk could be taking issue with efforts from Netflix to become more inclusive both in its shows on the site, as well as its workforce. Last year, a Netflix diversity study revealed that representation of LGBTQ+ individuals and characters with disabilities were rarely featured in Netflix shows.

Netflix is mulling several options to make up for the loss of subscribers, including cracking down on password sharing and exploring cheaper subscription packages with ads.


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