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Bridgerton Viewers Torn Over Controversial Male Rape Scene

Bridgerton Viewers Torn Over Controversial Male Rape Scene

*This article contains spoilers for Bridgerton*

Ever since Bridgerton landed on Netflix on Christmas Day, fans have been hooked.

Described as a 'period drama meets Gossip Girl', viewers have been bingeing the series in a matter of hours. But there's one scene in particular that appears to have conflicted fans.

In one of many sex scenes (tip, don't watch with parents!) viewers were torn over the issue of consent between Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page).

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The scandalous series follows Daphne as she navigates the 'marriage market' of 1813. Alongside mounting pressure to find her 'true love', Daphne's older brother begins to rule out each and every one of her potential suitors.

The situation is made even more difficult when the mysterious Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews) - who narrates the dramas around London's high society in a Gossip Girl style 'scandal sheet' - begins to cast aspersions on Daphne.

But, after meeting Simon - a committed bachelor - the pair strike a mutually beneficial deal to pretend to be engaged. However, things take a (very) steamy turn when sparks fly between the pair and they realise they have genuine feelings.

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The couple decide to get married - but there's one problem. Daphne wants children, but the Duke has made it clear that he "can't".

Daphne goes ahead with the marriage anyway, but not long after the pair tie the knot, she learns the Duke is physically able to have kids, he just doesn't want to - in a bid to end his family line following the death of his abusive father.

Daphne learns Simon is able to have children (Credit: Netflix)
Daphne learns Simon is able to have children (Credit: Netflix)

Daphne, who has had practically no sex education, soon realises that every time she has sex with her husband, he uses the withdrawal method as a form of contraception.

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The consent issue arises when Daphne hatches a plan. In one particular sexual encounter, she positions herself on top (so he can't pull out) and when he asks her to stop twice, she doesn't.

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In the book of which the show is based - The Duke and I by Julia Quinn - the consent scene is slightly different, but still deemed as rape by many readers.

It reads: "Daphne had aroused him in his sleep, taken advantage of him while he was still slightly intoxicated, and held him to her while he poured his seed into her."

Many are calling for a trigger warning (Credit: Netflix)
Many are calling for a trigger warning (Credit: Netflix)
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The scene has led to plenty of criticism online, with many calling for a trigger warning to be added.

"Since I haven't seen anyone else mention it, I feel compelled to say out loud that the Bridgerton Netflix series has a major CW. Reportedly, they DID NOT leave out the rape scene and did not address that event in the show," one person tweeted.

"I was considering watching it even though I have serious misgivings about that in the books; however I have decided I will not because rape scenes on screen are a trigger for me. If you know someone that would be triggered, please give them a heads up before they watch."

Another added: "I was shocked by the rape scene in @bridgerton and how it was unaddressed and unacknowledged."

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"If you're planning to watch Bridgerton just note there's a rape scene in ep 6. Everyone's brushed past it bc the couple is married/it's just seen as another one of their sex scenes, but the man said to stop during the act and no still means no so just watch out for that," tweeted one.

Simon said no twice, but Daphne didn't stop (Credit: Netflix)
Simon said no twice, but Daphne didn't stop (Credit: Netflix)

Phoebe (who plays Daphne) has spoken about the scene since, explaining to Bustle: "It's where Daphne really finds her power. It's a give and take in a way, like, 'You did this, so I did that.'"

"It's that murky thing in relationships of being in a marriage and [figuring out] what [is and isn't] consensual."

She added: "We have intimacy coordinators who are amazing, and every scene was choreographed and well thought out. With every sex scene, there was a story behind it. It was there for a reason."

Tyla has contacted Netflix for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: TV News, TV & Film, TV Entertainment, Netflix

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]