Even the best of intentions can cause harm. In what is now a deleted tweet, streaming giant Netflix has been forced to apologize to its Irish contingency after tweeting out what appeared, at first, to be a solid advertisement for their supernatural series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The tweet featured a series of four pictures that included cast members Kiernan Shipka, Gavin Leatherwood, Lucy Davis, and Miranda Otto, all of whom are covered and splattered with fake blood, along with the caption “sunday bloody sunday.” But as fans were quick to point out, that the caption was neither funny nor clever.
Here is a screencap of the deleted tweet from the official account of the Netflix show:
The outrage came fast and while not overly heated, the responses were perfectly clear. “Please take a minute to read your caption, then put it into google. Then apologise to your Irish fans and anyone who was affected by the atrocities,” read one follower.
Another said, “I think at least someone behind this account should perhaps look at the replies and maybe Google ‘Bloody Sunday’.”
Then another decided to bring the 9/11 tragedy into their comments, “apologise for joking about bloody sunday. one of the darkest days of irish history is NOT a punchline for americans. many of us come from families personally affected by the events of the troubles. you wouldn’t have joked about 9/11. don’t joke about that.”
Bloody Sunday is a reference made to the January 30, 1972 massacre that happened in Derry, Northern Ireland. On this day, British soldiers from the Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators, killing 14 people, 13 who died on-site and the 14th who died months later from his wounds. Another 12 civilians were shot but survived, many of these 26 victims lost their lives or were injured as they ran from the soldiers. In the aftermath of this tragedy, all soldiers were firstly cleared, and no charges were filed. But as time moved on and pressured mounted, inquiries (Widgery and Saville) were made into the shootings with the final results being that one soldier was being arrested on charges of murder and it took until 2019 for that decision to be reached.
With all this quick outrage, Netflix just as quickly pulled the offending tweet. Then they offered an apology via Deadline from a Netflix spokesperson, “Our tweet was unacceptable and has since been removed. We are very sorry for the hurt and distress it caused.” Is this enough to satisfy?
This would not be the first time a reference to Bloody Sunday has been made from a larger corporation, causing accidental pain. Back in 2019, McDonald’s Portugal had an ice-cream sundae campaign that had the tagline “Sundae, Bloody Sundae” which didn’t fare well. The campaign was met with major backlash causing McDonald’s to pull the advertisements quickly.
Irish rock band U2 also memorialized Bloody Sunday in a song titled “Sunday Bloody Sunday” which described the terror that went down on that terrible day. There have been other instances where the phrase has been used and decried. Steve Coogan’s character in the movie I’m Alan Partridge used it not knowing it referenced the Irish massacre. There have also been two recent films that covered Bloody Sunday, Paul Greengrass’s Bloody Sunday which starred James Nesbitt, and Sunday, a movie written by Jimmy McGovern.
So, where do you stand on this issue? Should we all just step away from the keyboard and go about our business? Are we becoming too sensitive to anything and everything or is Netflix doing the proper thing by pulling the tweet and offering up an apology? Let us know.