Netflix Appointed Susan Rice, An Obama Official, To Its Board & Now People Want To Boycott It
For years, many prominent conservatives have been extremely critical of a particular former Obama administration national security adviser and United Nations ambassador. Now, that vehement opposition may force some of them to adjust their online streaming habits. Some conservatives plan to boycott Netflix because Susan Rice has joined the company's board of directors.
In a statement on Thursday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings welcomed Rice to the company, praising her integrity, and her history of handling sensitive issues of global importance.
"We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board,” Hastings said. “For decades, she has tackled difficult, complex global issues with intelligence, integrity and insight and we look forward to benefiting from her experience and wisdom."
Some conservative Twitter users have subsequently started using the #BoycottNetflix hashtag, calling for people to cancel their subscriptions. Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative organization Judicial Watch, is among Rice's harshest critics that weighed in on Thursday.
As demonstrated in Fitton's tweet, the conservative complaints regarding Rice generally center around two issues. The first of those issues are her statements in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. Specifically, she had suggested the attacks might have been motivated by a recently released, inflammatory film depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This initial explanation has been intensely scrutinized by conservatives throughout the years because it suggested the attack wasn't pre-planned. The Obama administration, in fact, ultimately characterized the incident as a premeditated "terrorist attack."
Another prominent anti-Rice conservative who spoke out on Thursday is Dana Loesch, the controversial national spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, who also criticized Rice for her response to the Benghazi compound attack in 2012.
"The perfect place for a former staffer who blamed a terror attack on a poorly-made short film released long before said attack took place," Loesch tweeted.
The second claim about Rice that has riled some conservatives is the accusation that she improperly unmasked the identities of some Trump aides and associates who were under federal investigation back in 2016.
Rice told the House Intelligence Committee last year that her decision to unmask the aides was legitimate, a decision made after the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates attended a meeting at Trump Tower without notifying the Obama administration, a breach of protocol.
Despite the highly charged criticisms, even Representative Trey Gowdy ultimately concluded that "nothing that came up in [Rice]'s interview" led him to believe she improperly unmasked any Trump aides. Gowdy is a longtime member of the House Intelligence Committee, and led the GOP's investigations into the Benghazi incident for years.
Despite the criticism, Rice herself seems excited to begin a new position. Netflix's press release announcing her addition to the board of directors also included a quote from her, explaining how she admired the company.
"I am thrilled to be joining the board of directors of Netflix, a cutting-edge company whose leadership, high-quality productions, and unique culture I deeply admire," she said.
It remains to be seen whether Netflix will directly address the conservative consternation over Rice joining the board. It wouldn't be terribly surprising if it didn't make a huge dent in Netflix's business whatsoever. After all, Netflix boasts reportedly more than 118 million subscribers around the world, and even people who don't like Rice probably still want to binge-watch their favorite shows.