Netflix Won’t Add Disclaimer to The Crown Saying Show Is Fictionalized

By Jessica Lerner 

Despite requests from high-profile public figures, Netflix will not be adding a disclaimer to The Crown that says the show is fictionalized.

In a letter to the British newspaper The Times, Dame Judi Dench demanded the streamer add a disclaimer to the beginning of each episode, out of concern that viewers would mistake the show’s portrayal of events for historical reality rather than a dramatization.

“While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that it is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true,” she said. “This is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent.”

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Dench, who called the show “crude sensationalism” and “inaccurate and harmful account of history, went on to say, “Indeed, the closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.”

And last week, in an interview with Daily Mail, U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden requested that such a label be placed to the program, fearing that “a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

Dowden also wrote a private letter to Netflix to discuss the matter, and the streamer privately responded, according to Variety.

Netflix disagrees, though, claiming that its customers are aware of the fact that it is fake.

“We have always presented ‘The Crown’ as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. “As a result we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.

Earlier this week, Netflix defended The Crown as a “fictional dramatization,” after former British Prime Minister John Major slammed its depictions of his time in office as “damaging and malicious fiction.”

Major, who was prime minister from 1990 to 1997, told the U.K. media that a scene that apparently depicts a plot to oust the late Queen was “a barrel-load of malicious nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum – and entirely false – dramatic impact.”

Season 5 of The Crown is described as “a fictional dramatization, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family–one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians,” per CNN.

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