Netflix Slammed for "Exploiting" Titanic Sub Tragedy as Users Threaten a Boycott

The streaming service is under fire for its movie lineup in July.

Last week, the world was glued to the search for the missing OceanGate submersible, which was lost while on a trip to see the wreckage of the Titanic. Days were spent trying to locate the sub after it lost contact with its support ship on June 18. It wasn't until June 22 that it was discovered the sub, named Titan, had suffered an implosion, killing all five people on board. Now, Netflix has caught flak for "exploiting" the recent events with their July streaming additions. Read on to find out why subscribers are up in arms—and threatening a boycott.

READ THIS NEXT: Jeopardy! Champ Was Supposed to Go on a Titanic Submersible Tour.

The 1997 blockbuster Titanic will start streaming July 1.


Netflix typically introduces new movies and TV shows at the beginning of each month, removing others in the process. Come July 1, several titles are dropping on the platform, including James Cameron's 1997 epic Titanic.

In response, some have taken to Twitter to criticize Netflix for the timing, alleging that the streaming service is using the OceanGate tragedy to its advantage.

"Netflix is overstepping the boundaries of decency on this timing," a June 25 tweet reads. "People died in a tragic accident [at] the Titanic site and now to capitalize on the moment to garner viewers is beyond distasteful."

Writer Ashley St. Clair also criticized the streaming giant, saying that she even decided to cancel her account in light of the issue.

"Just cancelled my Netflix over this," she wrote. "So sick of the moral depravities these companies engage in for profit. This is the same company whose employees had a strike over Dave Chapelle jokes."

In a subsequent tweet, she added, "Business should be ethical—not exploiting tragedy and bastardizing human consciousness."

And it's not just St. Clair. In a reply to her tweet, another user said they'd canceled their subscription as well.

Sources say these plans were made months ago.

Scene in Titanic of Rose and Jack.
Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox

While there's been an outcry on social media, Variety reported that Titanic's July 1 debut isn't intended to capitalize on the tragedy—even if it is admittedly "bad optics."

The outlet spoke with "sources familiar with the arrangement," who stress that licensing deals like the one to secure Titanic are worked out well in advance. So, if the movie is anticipated to drop on July 1, Netflix would have had this planned for several months, which is to say, long before the ill-fated OceanGate expedition.

The Hollywood Reporter also confirms that the movie was included on Netflix's list of July films before the Titan went missing, citing an article published two weeks ago on Fansided.

And while Netflix seems to be taking most of the heat, it's worth noting that the film is also currently streaming on Amazon Prime—and was trending as the number four offering as of yesterday, TMZ reported.

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Some people aren't as offended.


Many are outraged about Netflix's upcoming offering, but others responded to St. Clair's tweet to note that they don't see it as that big of a deal.

"It does bring light to the tragedy and the stories of dozens of families who struggled but survived at the same time," one user wrote, while another tweeted, "I don't think streaming Titanic is exploiting a tragedy. Settle down."

"Disagree, a lot of people became re-interested in the Titanic this last week," yet another user wrote, arguing that "the movie doesn't directly exploit the people lost in the sub."

However, others on Twitter pointed the finger back at Cameron–who was openly critical of the safety of the OceanGate sub—noting that exploitation of this situation dates back to the '90s.

"You know that James Cameron literally made the movie to gain profit right?" one person asked. "Like a tragedy was already capitalized before Netflix was even a thing."

An upcoming documentary added fuel to the fire.


Netflix was also under fire for an upcoming documentary about freediving, with the trailer dropping on Tuesday, June 20—two days after the OceanGate sub went missing, but before passengers were confirmed dead.

The doc, titled The Deepest Breath, isn't about the Titanic or submersible travel, but the trailer gives off eerie vibes, starting with a voiceover that says, "Freediving is one of the world's deadliest extreme sports."

The film debuts on July 19 and follows record-holding freediver Alessia Zecchini, who faces both "thrilling rewards" and "inescapable risks."

On Twitter, many criticized the timing of the trailer's release while the search for survivors was ongoing. "Not sure this is the best show to advertise during the titanic submarine thing," a June 20 tweet reads.

Another user added, "Probably not the best timed tweet you've ever done."

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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