Brit Marling responds to The OA cancellation and fan hunger strike: 'We have to save each other'
Fans of The OA aren’t going down without a fight.
Netflix canceled the sci-fi series after two seasons, but the fandom has banded together in many different ways to protest the loss of the show. Most recently, one devoted viewer in particular has gone on hunger strike to try and save the show. Emperial Young, 35, hasn’t eaten since August 16 and plans to picket every day outside of Netflix HQ in Hollywood until the show is renewed. And now the show’s star, Brit Marling, has responded to Young’s protest, as well as all the other fans who have turned to forms of activism to try and save The OA.
“We’re humbled, to be honest floored, by the outpouring of support for The OA,” Marling shared in a note on social media. “Your words and images move us deeply. Not because the show must continue, but because for some people its unexpected cancelation begs larger questions about the role of storytelling and its fate inside late capitalism’s push toward consolidation and economies of scale.”
Marling went on to describe how all the fandom protests and artwork in support of the series “has also just been very heartening inside our increasingly complex and often bleak time.”
“The more news I take in of the world, the more I often feel terrifyingly certain that we are on the brink of moral and ecological collapse. Sometimes I feel paralyzed by the forces we are up against — greed, fear, vanity. And I can’t help but long for someone to rescue us from ourselves — a politician, an outlaw, a tech baron, an angel. Someone who might take our hand, as if taking the hand of an errant toddler, and gently guide us away from the lunatic precipice that the ‘logic’ of profit unguided by the compass of feeling has brought us to.”
She goes on to write that her “desire to lie in wait for a hero is nothing new. Nor is the anesthetizing comfort that brings … But the more I think on this, the more it seems bat-s–t crazy. No one is coming to the rescue. We have to save each other. Every day, in small and great ways.”
Marling then references all the fan protests and movements currently happening in support of the show, including Young’s hunger strike. “You are standing on street corners in the hot sun to protest,” she wrote. “You are meeting new people in strange recesses online and sharing stories about loss and renewal that you never thought you’d tell anyone. You are learning choreography and moving in ways you haven’t dared moved before. All of it is uncomfortable … All of it is worth something.”
“The other day [The OA showrunner] Zal [Batmanglij] and I pulled over to offer a bottle of water and food to a young woman who has been protesting the cancelation of the show on a street corner in Hollywood,” Marling said of Young. “As we were leaving she said, ‘You know, what I’m really protesting is late capitalism.’ And then she said something that I haven’t been able to forget since: ‘Algorithms aren’t as smart as we are. They cannot account for love.’ Her words. Not mine. And the story keeps going inside them.”
But Young took to Twitter to clarify that Marling’s words of support does not mean that Marling or the showrunner are affiliated with her hunger strike in any way other than offering their words of support. “I don’t want it to seem like Brit and Zal endorsed me,” Young wrote. “They did not, nor would I ask them to. I will say I was extremely touched by the fact Brit heard me so well in our brief moment together. I think she and Zal are an absolute credit to the species. The fact they brought food and water was so generous and thoughtful. I cried reading her post. I would merely ask that everyone recognize that I am not affiliated with or endorsed by Brit or Zal, I am an individual exercising my autonomy, and my actions do not reflect on them in any way.”
Read Marling’s full note below:
The OA season 2 ended on a massive cliffhanger that shook up the world and show in exciting new ways, which made the cancelation hurt even more for fans. “Zal and I are deeply sad not to finish this story,” Marling shared on social media after the cancelation was announced. “The first time I heard the news I had a good cry.”