Why Netflix's New Reality Show Is Already Mired In Controversy

Federico Garcia/Netflix

There are a lot of products made in Mexico. Cars. Oil. Iron. Vegetables. And apparently lots and lots of drama. Netflix's latest reality television series, Made in Mexico, which is set to premiere on the streaming service on Friday, Sept 28, focuses on the lives of nine of Mexico City's elite as they work hard and play hard. But not all of the reactions to this new series have been positive, as some see the show's casting as colorist and the show's premise insensitive considering the current state of Mexican politics. In light of all the criticism, will Made in Mexico return for a second season?

As of right now, Netflix has not announced whether what is being hailed as Netflix's "first Mexican reality show" will be returning for a second season. Likely, the streaming service will be waiting to see how viewers respond to the new reality show before making a decision. But considering the immense popularity of Netflix among Mexican users, it seems totally possible that these nine socialites will be back for another season. People reported that in 2017, Mexican users topped the list of most daily consumption of Netflix content, and Netflix's decision to create this new Mexican reality show is likely in response to this user enthusiasm.


Blowback to the reality show occurred almost immediately after Made in Mexico was announced. Telemundo reports that critics decried the service's decision to depict the lives of nine wealthy, light-skinned Mexicans, claiming that "it's tone-deaf in a country where most have darker skin and about half the population lives in poverty." The article goes on to assert that the show fits into a larger racist pattern in the country, in which "the white and the wealthy have long dominated Mexican media." Many took to Twitter to express their displeasure with the series. "You mean to tell me then that Netflix is going to stream classism/racism that Mexicans already get with the usual novelas from Televisa and Canal de las Estrellas,"The Chicago Tribune reports one Twitter user wrote.

When Remezcla attempted to address this issue of colorism (the idea that the lighter your skin, the greater your opportunities, no matter your actual racial or ethnic background) with the cast of Made in Mexico, they didn't seem to fully grasp the concept, and instead focused on attempting to justify their casting in the series. Kitzia Jimenez-O’Farrill told Remezcla:

“I am 21 percent Aztec. Race is in the mind of people; it’s non-existent. It’s been proven by science, over and over again, that we’re all immigrants. We’re all from everywhere. We all came from Africa. The color of your skin is just your phenotype. I might look Irish, but my Irish percent of my blood, is like 3 percent. I’m 21 percent Mexican; I’m a Native American. I might not look the part, but when they say I look ‘too white’ that’s just racism.”

When Remezcla writer Yolanda Machado explained that the issue of colorism was not one of race or ethnicity, but of the actual skin tones of the cast, Jimenez-O’Farrill was still defensive. “Equal opportunity things, I think they create even more racism. We’re all the same. Who cares what the color of your skin is?” she said in the same interview.

People On Twitter Were Not Having It

Whether or not this controversy will factor into Netflix's decision regarding the renewal of Made in Mexico remains to be seen. But the show serves as a reminder that there are still many conversations to be had about race and privilege.