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August 20, 2022



USA: Petition to rename the "Gypsy" series warns of dangerous stereotypes

25.7.2017 5:49
A still from the trailer for the Netflix series
A still from the trailer for the Netflix series "Gypsy". (PHOTO: YouTube)

"'Gypsy' is a racist slur against Romani people who have suffered from slavery and genocide and who have been targeted by the Nazis in World War II. [...] By keeping the name Netflix is normalizing the usage of a racist slur," reads an online petition that currently has more than 1 900 signatures.

Romani people living in the USA have been irritated by the fact that one of the most recent serials produced by the popular online television company Netflix has been given this name to evoke passion and spontaneity. The series, which is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, the director of the erotic drama "Fifty Shades of Grey", is dedicated to a story about a promiscuous woman who is a psychoanalyist succumbing to her own sexual desires (performed by Hollywood star Naomi Watts) and has nothing to do with ethnic Romani people.

"Our people have suffered for entire centuries because of defamatory, misguided and negative stereotypes connected with the term 'gypsy'," one signer of the petition posted. "The Romani community is constantly pushed to the margins, discriminated against, denigrated or worse. Because of what people believe the term 'gypsy' represents we have been enslaved, forcibly sterilized, and murdered during the Holocaust. There is no excuse for using this term, nota bene when referring to a series about the sexual quirks of a non-Romani woman."

Netflix is defending itself by saying the title for the series was inspired by a pop song of that name by the group Fleetwood Mac and is not aimed against Romani people. The petition, however, responds to that by stating that the term "gypsy" is pejorative in and of itself, irrespective of the context in which it is used, and goes on to say that particular pop song also unmistakably fetishizes Romani people and some aspects of their culture in a way the mainstream media tends to exploit in order to romanticize them.

Adéla Gálová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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