Netflix apologises for saying it would stream documentary about antisemite Louis Farrakhan

Online streaming service says 'internal miscommunication' meant the film was put on its August schedule


WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan delivers a speech and talks about U.S. President Donald Trump, at the Watergate Hotel, on November 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. This is the first time that Minister Farrakhan will speak directly to the 45th President of the United States and will address "issues of importance regarding Americas domestic challenges, her place on the world stage and her future." (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Netflix, the popular online streaming service, has apologised for an "international miscommunication" that led it to say it was going to premiere a documentary promoting one of America’s most notorious antisemites.

Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam sect, announced on Twitter that his documentary, “My life through Music” would be premiering on Netflix on August 1, telling his followers that “I am looking forward to your thoughts after you watch.”

Before Netflix clarified it would not be showing the documentary, Jewish organisations warned that any attempt to gloss over his views towards Jews "would be a travesty".

Speaking on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Community Security Trust said: “Louis Farrakhan has made numerous antisemitic remarks over many years and continues to do so on a regular basis.

“Any documentary that glosses over his history of hatred would be a travesty.”

Netflix has over 118 million subscribers worldwide, with almost 7.5 million households subscribing to the service in the UK alone.

But on Tuesday evening, the day before the documentary was, according to Mr Farrakhan and Netflix's own schedules, due to go live, a Netflix spokesperson said it would not be streaming the film.

A Netflix spokesperson said: "This film will not be released on Netflix. Due to an internal miscommunication, it appeared to be scheduled for release on Netflix, but it is not. We apologise for any confusion this has caused."

Mr Farrakhan has a decades-long history of antisemitic statements.

According to America’s main antisemitism watchdog, the Anti Defamation League, Mr Farrakhan has suggested “that Jews are part of ‘the Synagogue of Satan’, that the white people running Mexico are Mexican-Jews; that Jews control various countries including Ukraine, France, Poland and Germany where they take advantage of the money, the culture and the business; that Jesus called Jews "the children of the devil"; and "when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door" and that Jews control the government and the FBI and use marijuana to feminise black men.

Mr Farrakhan has a history of making antisemitic remarks during his annual Saviours’ Day speech to Nation of Islam followers.

In 1985, he said: “Jews know their wickedness, not just Zionism, which is an outgrowth of Jewish transgression.”

He followed that in 1990, saying: “The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters … the Jews got a stranglehold on the Congress."

His 1996 speech included the passage: “You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.”

The documentary was reportedly made in 2014 and features interviews with the musicians Mr Farrakhan, who plays violin, worked with to make a full-length album.

By Wednesday, Mr Farrakhan appeared to have deleted his tweet and a YouTube clip in which he announced Netflix would stream the documentary.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive