Byron Bay: thousands call for boycott of Netflix reality show set in Australian beach town
There have been calls to boycott a new Netflix reality show to be set in Byron Bay, Australia.
The proposed influencer-led series, called Byron Baes, has led to thousands of people in the community signing a petition calling for a filming ban.
Many are angry about the show plans and feel the beach town, on the New South Wales north coast, will be used as a “punch line”.
Local media report that some businesses have refused to be featured in the new series.
‘Hot Instagrammers’ living their lives
Netflix unveiled plans for the show in March, describing Byron Bay as “the perfect setting” for the streaming giant’s next reality show.
It said: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop.
"And there's no better backdrop - or magnet for influencers - than Byron Bay, the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original."
It called the series a “docu-soap” and said the aim was to film “hot Instagrammers living their best lives”.
Byron Bay is globally known for its surfing, beaches and chilled lifestyle.
It is also a place that Hollywood stars and influencers frequent.
But many locals are angry about the way the town is presented via social media, claiming the glamorous portrayal is not the reality for most people.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the series was “offensive” and that influencer culture did not reflect the real issues within the community.
He said: “"We've almost got a Truman Show-type portrayal of who we are where everything is quite idyllic and superficial, where out the back it's an empty parking lot," he said.
"We've got a community that is in real stress, we've got a community that has real life issues dealing with housing, work, affordability."
‘Significant challenges driven by influencer culture’
More than 6,000 people have signed the boycott petition, which urges local authorities to refuse all production filming permits that Netflix would need to shoot the series.
It reads: “We are a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents. We do not want to be cast as the perfect backdrop and magnet for social media influencers. We do not want to appear in 'Byron Baes'.
"Rather than using our region as a reality show punch line we want... authorities to focus on supporting our community to address systemic issues of housing affordability, coastal erosion, increasing unemployment, traffic management challenges, low high school completion rates and high levels of gendered and domestic violence."