Following the release of the second season of Netflix’s popular show Emily in Paris, the Ukrainian culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko has issued a complaint, blatantly criticising the offensive stereotypes condoned by the show via its Ukrainian character.
In his Telegram post, Tkachenko was quoted saying, “We have a caricature image of a Ukrainian woman that is unacceptable. It is also insulting. Is that how Ukrainians are seen abroad?” The Ukrainian media confirmed the receipt of the letter by the streaming service themselves.
Tkachenko is protesting against Dario Panchenko’s portrayal of Petra, a character utterly afraid of being deported in the show. Petra is shown to have poor taste in fashion – something unacceptable in this world of frills and perfection – and is shown shoplifting while he accompanies Emily on a shopping spree.
This is not the first time Darren Star’s Netflix original has been criticised for promoting and including stereotypes regarding French culture.
The show revolves around the misadventures of the titular Emily, an American girl who is totally ignorant of French culture, moving to the French capital and finding herself bridging the gap between the American and French sensibilities while having various romantic encounters with men and women.
Starring Lily Collins, Ashley Park and Lucas Bravo, the show, with its happy-go-lucky premise, became an instant hit ever since its release in 2020. From emphasising the beret culture to focusing more on dilly-dallying, chain-smoking French characters, the show was blasted for promoting these stereotypes that have long preceded the French reputation.
Collins had responded to such criticisms, talking about how the showrunner and producers were trying to put in an honest effort to make it “more inclusive and diverse”. She said, “I wanted diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera to be something that we really put our focus on.”
This is not the first time Darren Star has been criticised for promoting stereotypical portrayals on his shows. Right ahead of the production of his upcoming Netflix series Uncoupled, starring Neil Patrick Harris, the showrunner was called out for the “hurtful” and offensive portrayal of a Latina housekeeper by veteran actress, Ada Maris.
Despite all the criticism, Emily in Paris continues to be one of Netflix’s highest-grossing shows and is now streaming on Netflix.