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Seaspiracy: Netflix Documentary Accused Of ‘Bullying’ And ‘Cherry Picking' Interviews

Lucy Devine


Seaspiracy: Netflix Documentary Accused Of ‘Bullying’ And ‘Cherry Picking' Interviews

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Ever since Netflix's Seaspiracy dropped on the platform last month, viewers were left heartbroken and gobsmacked by some of its brutal scenes and shocking admissions.

But now, filmmakers Ali and Lucy Tabrizi have been accused of "bullying" and "cherry picking" certain quotes from interviews to "fit their narrative".


Viewers were left pretty shaken after watching the doc, which sees Ali examine the global fishing industry - and while there are many harrowing moments, one scene in particular, towards the end of the film left viewers devastated.

After being tipped off about a whaling hunt in the Faroe Islands, Ali and the team head down to Hvannasund, a village located on the west coast of the island of Viðoy. And what they witness is utterly devastating.

Viewers were heartbroken at the scenes, which saw the sea turn bright red from the brutal hunt. One viewer wrote: "The grind scene in the Faroe Islands has me in tears. Heart wrenching."

But now, some contributors in the documentary have spoken out and said that their interviews have been taken out of context.

Professor Christina Hicks tweeted, explaining: "Unnerving to discover your cameo in a film slamming an industry you love & have committed your career to.

"I've a lot to say about #seaspiracy - but won't. Yes there are issues but also progress & fish remain critical to food & nutrition security in many vulnerable geographies."

The doc has been criticised over some of its claims (Credit: Netflix)
The doc has been criticised over some of its claims (Credit: Netflix)

Meanwhile, The Plastic Pollution Coalition, went as far as to say its staff had been bullied. In a statement, they said: "We were excited to sit down with the filmmakers to talk about plastic pollution and what people can do to help.

"Unfortunately, although the filmmakers said they were interested in the work of Plastic Pollution Coalition, when we answered the questions, they bullied our staff and cherry-picked seconds of our comments to support their own narrative.

"Despite our efforts to provide documentation of the plastic pollution crisis and our work before, during, and after, they chose instead to grossly distort and mischaracterise our staff and organisation."

The official synopsis for the controversial documentary explains that although Ali initially set out to celebrate his love of the ocean, his idyllic notion evolved into something quite different.

"From plastics and fishing gear polluting the waters, to the irreparable damage of bottom trawling and by-catch, to illegal fishing and devastating hunting practices, humanity is wreaking havoc on marine life and, by extension, the entire planet," it reads.

"What Tabrizi ultimately uncovered not only challenges notions of sustainable fishing but will shock anyone who cares about the wonders of ocean life, as well as the future of the planet and our place on it."

One of the issues raised was over dolphin safe tuna (Credit: Netflix)
One of the issues raised was over dolphin safe tuna (Credit: Netflix)

And while the doc has been celebrated for raising awareness of important issues, several organisations have rejected some of the claims made in the documentary, with some taking specific issue with the portrayal of dolphin safe tuna.

"The recent film Seaspiracy falsely claims that the dolphin-safe tuna program is a conspiracy to benefit the global fisheries industries," said The International Marine Mammal Project.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the dolphin-safe tuna program has provided and continues to provide massive benefits to dolphin populations around the world. Despite our efforts to provide documentation of this to the filmmakers, they chose instead to grossly distort and mischaracterise the program."

Meanwhile, others, including The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), challenged the doc's claims about sustainable fishing.

Others challenged the doc's claims about sustainable fishing (Credit: Netflix)
Others challenged the doc's claims about sustainable fishing (Credit: Netflix)

Speaking to the Guardian Ali responded to the criticism, explaining: "The renowned marine scientists Dr Sylvia Earle and Prof Callum Roberts, who expose the failure of sustainable fishing in the film, explain how the term 'sustainable' is so vague that even bycatch of seabirds, dolphins and seals can be considered sustainable.

"This is not what consumers think of when they pick up a fillet of fish with the MSC blue tick."

He added: "We did not claim in the film that the Dolphin Safe label is a conspiracy to benefit global fisheries industries. We asked if they could guarantee 'Dolphin Safe' tuna is in fact dolphin safe, to which Mark Palmer replied that they could not guarantee it, and that their observers, who oversee these fishing vessels some of the time, can be bribed.

"The label does not say 95% dolphin safe. It claims to be dolphin safe. In the words of Mark Palmer himself, 'one dolphin and you're out'. This wasn't taken out of context."

Ali also added that he was grateful for Professor Christina Hicks' contribution to the doc, and said it was a "shame" felt the way she did, adding however, that it was "unrealistic" for everyone's expectations of the film to align.

Tyla has also contacted Netflix for further comment.

Topics: Entertainment News, Documentaries, TV News, Netflix

Lucy Devine
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