An unnamed showrunner working on a sequel to Roald Dahl’s Matilda for Netflix was reportedly fired by Ava DuVernay for “cultural insensitivity.”
A report from Matthew Belloni at Puck claims that DuVernay and her Array FilmWorks production company was working with Netflix to create a new series based off Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
This new Matilda series would see a grown-up Matilda traveling around the world with an 8-year-old gifted black child recruiting other gifted children for their school.
The report claims that DuVernay hired an unnamed white woman to be the showrunner and created a pilot for the show with her. This showrunner “then hired a diverse, five-person staff, with writers representing the global backgrounds of people who might be featured on the show.”
However, these writers were apparently unhappy with the showrunner. Belloni claims “a vocal part of the staff didn’t feel like the showrunner was attuned to the cultural sensitivities required for the material.”
Although he also suggests that it’s possible many of the writers were also not happy that they were taking orders from a white woman given they were hired to work on an Ava DuVernay project.
Nevertheless, Belloni would go on to claim that some of the writers complained they were being asked to write about characters that aligned with their own personal background. These writers believed they should be writing for all of the characters.
Belloni also claims some of them accused the show of featuring a white savior narrative given it’s a grown up Matilda recruiting a number of children to take to her school.
These complaints reportedly sparked an actual investigation by Netflix to which Belloni claims his sources informed him “didn’t confirm much.”
Nevertheless, despite Netflix’s investigation not turning up anything, DuVernay and Paul Garnes, the president of Array FilmWorks fired the showrunner.
Belloni reports, “So the showrunner who was cleared by Netflix was nonetheless terminated not for cause, paid out, she signed an NDA, and everything is on pause now until Array can bring in another showrunner—a showrunner who may or may not keep those writers who complained in the first place.”
While this report can technically be considered a rumor, it’s not hard to find it believable given Ava DuVernay’s past.
Back in June 2020, she made it very clear she was a racist when she threatened to discriminate against white men when hiring for films.
In response to a thread from Nicole French, DuVernay tweeted, “Everyone has a right to their opinion. And we – Black producers with hiring power – have the right to not hire those who diminish us.”
She added, “So, to the white men in this thread… if you don’t get that job you were up for, kindly remember… bias can go both ways. This is 2020 speaking.”
In July 2020, DuVernay would further show off her racism responding to a poll showing President Donald Trump was receiving 49% support from white people.
DuVernay tweeted, “Basically half of all white folks. This is where we are. After all that we’ve been through. Whiteness over democracy. Whiteness over safety. Whiteness over justice. That is what these numbers mean. 49%. smh.”
In November 2020, DuVernay would also claim she was participating in a war with members of Black Lives Matter.
In a speech shared to the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles Instagram account, DuVernay said, “Listen, I’m not a speaker. I’m a storyteller. I like to be behind the scenes. I like to put the good doctor up front.”
“Thank you for holding space for this resistance, for this power, for this voice, for demonstrating who we are, that we can proclaim what we want, that we can exercise rights that are given to us and rights that we take that are not given to us, and that we can declare what we want,” she continued.
“This moment is not an end all be all,” she declared. “You know this vote, we know this election is not even the half of what is ahead of us and what needs to happen tomorrow and the next day and the next day. But it is a tool, and it is a weapon in our arsenal and we are in a fight. We are in a war.”
The director then stated, “I think the question here is, ‘What do we do tomorrow?’ What will we continue to do?’ We know what we are going to do. We are going to keep loving each other. We are going to keep charging. We are going to keep our heads up. We are going to keep moving forward regardless.”
While it’s unclear who DuVernay is at war with the Black Lives Matter organization has made it clear they want to defund police.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles tweeted, “We don’t want to hug the police. We don’t want to kneel with the police. We don’t want to meet with the police. WE WANT TO DEFUND THE POLICE.”
The Black Lives Matter organization also noted on their website they wanted to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”
The organization also advocated “to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folks, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”
What do you make of DuVernay reportedly firing this showrunner?