Ukraine minister criticises 'Emily in Paris' for offensive stereotype, Netflix response 'quite diplomatic'

He said that such a caricature was unacceptable.

Fasiha Nazren | January 05, 2022, 02:56 PM

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Netflix series "Emily in Paris", while arguably a good brainless watch, has received its fair share of criticism.

Following the release of the first season in 2020, French critics and viewers pointed out the show's "proud cultural ignorance", saying that the series plays up French stereotypes.

And it seems like the second season has managed to offend another group of people: The Ukrainians.

Portrayal of Ukrainian character

In a Telegram post from Dec. 24, Ukraine's Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko criticised the "Emily in Paris" show for portraying a caricature of a Ukrainian woman.

In the fourth episode of the series, Emily befriends Petra, a woman from Kyiv, Ukraine in French class.

Both characters barely understand each other but apparently share a love for shopping.

While out shopping, Petra tricked Emily into shoplifting from a high-end store.

However, Petra ran away out of fear of deportation when Emily tried to return the items to the store.

Petra is played by France-based Ukrainian actress Daria Panchenko.

As of the time of writing, her Instagram account seems to have been removed.

"Unacceptable" and "offensive"

In his Telegram post, Tkachenko said that he watched the first season of "Emily in Paris" and praised the show as a "pretty good" entertainment series.

However, he deemed the portrayal of a Ukrainian woman in the series as "unacceptable" and "offensive".

He said: "Will Ukrainians be seen as such abroad? People who steal, want to get everything for free, afraid of deportation? That should not be the case."

Tkachenko continued that in recent times, Europeans and Americans have heard about Ukrainian artists like conductor Oksana Liniv, tennis plater Elina Svitolina, singer Jamal, designer Vita Kin and more.

He also said that Netflix should be "well-acquainted" with Ukraine, since the Paris scenes from "The Last Mercenary" were mostly filmed in Kiev.

However, he said that it is probably "not enough".

He ended his post by saying that he has written to Netflix about this issue.

"Quite diplomatic" response

According to Mirror, Tkachenko said that Netflix's response to its complaint was "quite diplomatic".

He said: “They thanked me for the feedback. But they heard about the concern of Ukrainian viewers with the image of a Ukrainian woman. We agreed that in 2022, we will be in close contact to prevent such cases.

“Such an active public position will help ensure the attitude of Ukrainians is taken into account in future filming.”

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Top image from Stephanie Branchu via Netflix.

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