US conservatives are calling for a boycott of Netflix after the streaming-video service appointed Susan Rice, former national security advisor and UN ambassador during the Obama administration, to its board on Wednesday.
Rice, who has captured the ire of Republicans, is perhaps best remembered for her role in the handling of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the deaths of four Americans. She was the Obama administration’s point person on the matter, and initially said the violence was incited by protests against an anti-Islamic video on YouTube. The Obama administration later said it was a pre-planned terrorist act, and Rice acknowledged the error. But some conservative outlets branded her as a liar.
To add fuel to the fire, her appointment to Netflix’s board also comes a few weeks after the New York Times reported (paywall) that Barack Obama was in talks to produce a series of shows for the streaming service. The former US president also recently appeared on David Letterman’s Netflix talk show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
On Wednesday afternoon, users on social media were vowing to cancel their Netflix subscriptions and calling on others to do the same. People on Twitter accused the streaming service of supporting “Obama corruption” and producing propaganda.
Netflix has more than 117 million members and nearly half are in the US. The company’s shares, which were trading down ahead of the announcement at around 12pm ET, dipped further on Wednesday afternoon amid the public outcry. The stock closed down 4% at $$288.17.
Netflix did not immediately return Quartz’s request for comment on the backlash. “We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in the statement earlier today that announced her appointment. “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.”
Customers in Brazil have also threatened to #DeleteNetflix since the streaming service released a fictional series last Friday about a real-life corruption probe that rocked the nation. Critics, including the former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached following the scandal, say the series is inaccurate.