On Wednesday, Netflix debuted the first trailer for Dear White People, a new series adapted from Justin Simien’s hit Sundance film, and within 24 hours, some customers were calling for a boycott of the streaming service.
“Netflix announced a new anti-white show (Dear White People) that promotes white genocide. I cancelled my account, do the same. #NoNetflix,” one Twitter account posted on Wednesday. That particular tweet was grabbed and shared a few thousand times on the social platform, making Dear White People a topic of conversation as news outlets rounded up racist reactions to the show.
“For me, it was really profound, encouraging in a weird way,” Simien tells ET on Thursday, while in New York City to promote the new series, the trailer of which has now been viewed over 530,000 times in its first 24 hours.
“It just brought more attention to the series. Thanks, white supremacists, you really helped me promote my show," he jokingly continued, adding: “I’m a little grateful, I guess, to the insanity.”
Dear White People, which at its core is about identity, is a satirical look at students of color navigating a “post-racial America” at the fictional Winchester University. When the film first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, it was before the events that led to the Black Lives Matter movement and the controversial election that shined a light on the racial divide in the nation -- and in some ways, this boycott is just highlighting the themes of the story.
“It does what the show is trying to do, which is to show you where we actually are, not where we think we are,” Simien concludes.
Dear White People premieres April 28 on Netflix.