Tech billionaire Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, Inc. and the founder and CEO of SpaceX, mocked Netflix and modern Hollywood’s approach to filmmaking and television series.
Musk took to Twitter, where he shared a meme that reads, “Netflix waiting for the war to end to make a movie about a black ukraine guy falls in love with a transgender russian soldier.”
Accompanying the text it shows a distorted man sitting on a rusted hanging swing.
Before sharing this meme, Musk shared the “I Support The Current Thing Meme,” which depicts a NPC avatar currently holding a Ukraine flag, with a number of other flags including the transgender flag in the background.
Musk’s meme regarding Netflix and modern Hollywood is particularly relevant given the streaming service just released their Vikings: Valhalla series that race and gender swaps Norwegian ruler Jarl Haakon.
In the series, Caroline Henderson plays Jarl Haakon.
The series creator Jeb Stuart explained his decision, “I did a lot of research on the Vikings and I certainly wasn’t about to put a person of color into a role that the actor would spend all the time saying, ‘I don’t know why I’m here.’”
“But the fact of the matter is that we do know that the Vikings spent a good bit of time by the time of my story going through the Mediterranean and they spent a lot of time in Egypt,” he asserted.
He then claimed, “But they also found as they went into different cultures, they didn’t dominate. They didn’t conquer, what they did was they assimilated, and they brought people in.”
Stuart then declared, “For this particular time, we know for a fact that there were people of color who had come up with the Vikings around the Iberian Peninsula.”
“There were Vikings who ended up in Ireland who were from North Africa. There were Sub-Saharan Vikings who had come up and had married Vikings or had been brought into it,” he continued.
He then concluded, “Was [Jarl Haakon] based on a particular person? No, but it was based on an amalgamation of lots of interesting stories.”
Netflix previously introduced a race-swapped Queen Charlotte in their period drama Bridgerton.
The decision to race swap the historical figure was defended by author Julia Quinn, whose Bridgerton books the series is based on.
Quinn argued, “Many historians believe she had some African background. It’s a highly debated point and we can’t DNA test her so I don’t think there’ll ever be a definitive answer.”
She then questioned, “What if that was something that had been acknowledged and accepted at the time? What if she used that position to bring other people of colour to positions of power? What would society have looked like?”
Netflix is not the only one to race swap historical figures. Channel 5 in the United Kingdom race-swapped Anne Boleyn by casting Jodie-Turner Smith in the role.
The show’s directed Lynsey Miller defended the decision to race-swap the character stating, “I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role so I am happy to stand by it.”
“I’m very proud of what we have created together, so let them talk. There are going to be a lot of people who don’t like it, but I feel like there has to be space for that and there are going to be a lot of people who love it. I’m one of them,” she added.
The show’s writer Eve Hedderwick provided a different explanation, “We wanted to make sure the world of our Tudor court didn’t look exactly like period dramas that we’d seen in the past.”
“Because it is such a well-known period of history and Anne’s story itself has been really well covered, we wanted to make sure that it felt fresh and alive and different,” she elaborated.
Hedderwick added, “And also, reflective of our society today — so that hopefully we would attract new audiences who maybe didn’t see relevance in watching a story like this previously.”
Hollywood, at the behest of activist groups like GLAAD, has also been including transgender characters. Most recently, the creators of The Matrix retroactively declared their work as a transgender allegory.
Those claims came from Andy Wachowski, who now calls himself Lilly Wachowski, in a video uploaded to the Netflix Film Club.
The upcoming Batgirl movie also recently cast transgender actor Ivory Aquino to play Alysia Yeoh. DC Films previously cast non-binary actor Quintessa Swindell to play Cyclone aka Maxine Hunkel in the upcoming Black Adam film.
There’s also a rumor that the film will retcon Red Tornado Mathilda ‘Ma’ Hunkel into a transgender character.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige also claimed that Marvel Studios would introduce a transgender character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in December 2019.
When asked, “Are there any current plans on bringing more LGBT+ characters into the MCU specifically the T, trans characters?”
Feige responded, “Yes, absolutely. Yes.” He added, “And very soon. In a movie that we’re shooting right now. Yes.”
Marvel Studios director Kate Herron also claimed that her main focus on the Loki series was to acknowledge Loki as bisexual.
She wrote on Twitter, “From the moment I joined Loki it was very important to me, and my goal, to acknowledge Loki was bisexual. It is part of who he is and who I am too.”
“I know this is a small step but I’m happy, and heart is so full, to say that this is now Canon in MCU,” she concluded.
The examples could go on, but what do you make of Elon Musk sharing these memes?