Netflix has just introduced the new Italian series, Baby, to its slate of original programming, and controversy has arisen in its wake. The show is under fire from The National Center on Sexual Exploitation for its portrayal of teen sex trafficking. In response to the show's release, the organization said:
Despite being at ground zero of the #MeToo movement, Netflix appears to have gone completely tone-deaf on the realities of sexual exploitation. Despite the outcry from survivors of sex trafficking, subject matter experts, and social service providers, Netflix promotes sex trafficking by insisting on streaming Baby. Clearly, Netflix is prioritizing profits over victims of abuse.
The group released the statement on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's website. As of today, the show remains available to stream on Netflix.
According to the streaming giant, Baby is loosely inspired by a true story. The drama follows a group of teenage Roman high school students as they "defy society" in a quest for independence. This all unravels amidst "forbidden love," pressure from family, and "shared secrets."
Sex trafficking ultimately comes into the equation. Also playing a role in the controversy is the VP of Netflix's International Original's choice of words in describing the series. Erik Barmack referred to the then-upcoming series as "edgy" back in January, per EW.
In a tweet, NCOSE took aim at the use of the word "edgy" in referencing the show. It also well addressed the idea that there is such a thing as underage prostitution, instead calling it sex trafficking. These are the NCOSE's exact words in the tweet:
Hey, @netflix please stop streaming the show Baby! There is absolutely nothing edgy about the sexual exploitation of minors. There is #nosuchthing as an underage prostitute. #sextrafficking
As of the writing of this story, Netflix has yet to respond to the controversy with a response to the NCOSE's statement. Time will tell if that changes. It is not the first time the streamer has moved forward in the face of growing controversy aimed at one of its original series.
Before the controversy behind Insatiable, Netflix has incurred criticism on other content. One of the most prevalent being another show that presents teen characters. The dark drama 13 Reasons Why has been at the forefront of debate for two seasons. Netflix is forging ahead with a third. A recent study regarding the controversial series found its own results regarding the show's impact.
To drill down further on Baby's content there is the show's description on the platform. That synopsis describes the show as following two teen girls, who are from a wealthy area of Rome. Frustrated by their families and their classmates, the girls are drawn into the "city's underworld" and begin living double lives, per Netflix.
As for whether the show continues beyond its first eight-episode season will be up to Netflix. It is a decision that could take months before it is announced. As for the controversy surrounding Netflix and its original series, Baby is unlikely to be the last to garner some.