Streaming giant Netflix has dropped Meghan Markle’s ‘Pearl’, an animated series that the British royal’s production company said would portray the life of a “12-year-old girl who finds inspiration in a variety of influential women throughout history.” Netflix’ stock price has plunged in recent months amid accusations of promoting ‘woke’ culture and its withdrawal from the Russian market.
The cancellation was reported by Deadline on Monday, with the Hollywood gossip site reporting that a number of other animated projects have also gotten the boot.
Created by Markle’s Archewell Productions, ‘Pearl’ was still in the development stage, Deadline reported, and the Duchess’ company still has other projects in the works with Netflix, including documentaries featuring herself and her husband, Prince Harry.
Announced last year, ‘Pearl’ was described by its producers as “a family series that centers on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl, who is inspired by a variety of influential women from history.”
Netflix’s director of Original Animation, Megan Casey, called the project “an exciting tale that weaves together fantasy and history, Pearl focuses on a young girl who learns to step into her own power when she embarks on a heroic adventure and meets important women from history along the way.”
However, some critics were unenthused. Author Douglas Murray, a critic of ‘woke’ culture, described the series as “self-referential and reputation-polishing.” In an interview with Sky News Australia on Monday, Murray suggested that the titular heroine of the series was a thinly-veiled stand-in for Markle herself, and declared “there is just no self-awareness with this couple,” referring to the royals.
Netflix reported last month that it had lost 200,000 subscribers, a revelation that tanked its share price by nearly 40% and wiped $40 billion off the company’s value. The firm has shed around two thirds of its value since January, with its pullout from the Russian market over the Ukraine conflict also losing it some 700,000 users, and is now the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500.
Some critics have attributed the decline in subscriptions to Netflix’ in-house production of ‘woke’ content. Shows like ‘Dear White People’ and ‘Bridgerton’ and documentaries like ‘White Hot’ have been panned online, and when news broke of Netflix’ drop in share price, billionaire Elon Musk attributed the decline to “the woke mind virus” that has “made Netflix unwatchable.”
Amid Netflix’ decline, the company has hiked prices and attempted to clamp down on password-sharing. CEO Reed Hastings has also announced plans to launch cheaper, advertising-supported subscription plans.