Singer Duffy slams Netflix for film 365 Days glamorizing 'brutal reality of sex trafficking'
The singer, who recently revealed she was raped and held captive, criticized Netflix head Reed Hastings for allowing the streamer to host the controversial Polish film.
As popular as 365 Days has been since it debuted on Netflix, the film has also garnered a slew of detractors appalled at its depiction of sex trafficking.
One of the biggest voices speaking out against the controversial Polish movie is musician Duffy, who in an open letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings slammed the streamer for the "careless, insensitive, and dangerous" decision to distribute the film.
In April, Duffy revealed in a harrowing blog post she was "raped, drugged, and held captive over some days," and explained why she's been largely absent from music and public life. In her open letter to Netflix, the Welsh singer said her experiences made her want to advocate for other survivors, and pleaded with the streamer to do better.
The film 365 Days focuses on a young woman imprisoned by a Sicilian mafia boss who gives her one year to fall in love with him. It was a hit when it premiered in Poland, where it grossed $9 million at the local box office.
When it debuted globally on Netflix last month, the feature was among the top three most viewed items on the platform in numerous territories, including the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
"Today, I really don’t know what to think, say, or do, other than to reach out and explain to you in this letter how irresponsible it was of Netflix to broadcast the film ‘365 Days,'" the "Mercy" singer wrote in the letter obtained by Deadline. "I don’t want to be in this position to have to write to you, but the virtue of my suffering obliges me to do so, because of a violent experience that I endured of the kind that you have chosen to present as ‘adult erotica.'"
She went on to say that 365 Days "glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape. This should not be anyone’s idea of entertainment, nor should it be described as such, or be commercialized in this manner."
Duffy also cited statistics that 25 million people are currently trafficked around the world, and 80 percent of them are women and girls. Because these victims and their trauma are "unseen," the singer said, "I am compelled to speak on their behalf, and to ask you to right this wrong."
Although she did not explicitly call on Netflix to take down the film, she encouraged the company and its filmmakers to commit to "producing and broadcasting content that portrays the truth of the harsh and desperate reality of what ‘365 Days’ has sought to turn into a work of casual entertainment."
Besides addressing Netflix, Duffy also said she was writing to viewers who enjoyed the movie to "reflect on the reality of kidnapping and trafficking, of force and sexual exploitation, and of an experience that is the polar opposite of the glossy fantasy depicted in ‘365 Days."
Duffy concluded the letter by raising awareness for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, and said Netflix and its viewers should learn more about the crisis via the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime website. She also shared links to organizations fighting against human trafficking, such as Hope for Justice, Polaris Project, Not for Sale Campaign, and Made for Them.
"If all of you at Netflix take nothing from this open letter but these final words, I will be content," she wrote. "You have not realized how ‘365 Days’ has brought great hurt to those who have endured the pains and horrors that this film glamorizes, for entertainment and for dollars. What I and others who know these injustices need is the exact opposite – a narrative of truth, hope, and to be given a voice. When we know better, let us do better, Duffy."
A Change.org petition calling for Netflix to remove 365 Days has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures.
In her earlier blog post, the singer revealed it took years of therapy and numerous moves following the assault for her to heal, and her recovery meant leaving the spotlight. As horrific as the ordeal was, Duffy said she wanted to share her story to help others who have gone through similar things.
"Rape stripped me of my human rights, to experience a life with autonomy from fear. It has already stolen one-third of my life," she wrote in an emotional blog post. "Deep down I do know it would have been a shame and done such an immense disservice to my existence to just delete myself and forget what I had experienced in music publicly."
She ended the essay by writing, "I can now leave this decade behind. Where the past belongs. Hopefully no more 'what happened to Duffy questions,' now you know ... and I am free."
EW has reached out to representatives for Netflix and Duffy.