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Netflix is exerting its power to frame Colton Underwood's coming out story as it did to demonize Carole Baskin

  • As Reality Blurred's Andy Dehnart points out, Netflix can be very powerful in the ways it portrays people. Tiger King's directors, for instance, purposefully left out Joe Exotic's racism and other “unsettling,” “horrible things” because it did not fit their narrative about him -- while Baskin got the villain edit that portrayed her as a potential killer. "Netflix was okay with 'the story' that Tiger King decided to tell, one that sanitized the presentation of a man convicted of trying to murder a rival," says Dehnart. "Netflix was also okay with an entire episode that was edited in such a compelling way that has convinced many people that Carole Baskin killed her husband. Now Netflix wants us to trust it as it gives the world’s largest entertainment platform to Colton Underwood. The former star of The Bachelor recently come out as gay, just months after his ex (Cassie Randolph) was granted a restraining order after detailing, in court documents, 'unsettling text messages' and 'a tracking device on her vehicles.” The restraining order was dropped months later because of 'a private agreement' between them. Both Netflix’s efforts to convince us that giving Colton a platform and attention is an excellent idea, and Colton’s efforts to blame his abusive behavior on being closeted, received a big assist from Variety‘s cover story this week. The story, written by Elizabeth Wagmeister, is very detailed, and has the kind of depth I typically want from great long-form journalism, and about reality TV show production. It offers some history and context about the representation of gay people on television, and how rarely queer love stories are centered, and also includes information about the show that’s being produced. The piece also quotes Raffy Ermac, Pride.com’s editor, who says, 'we shouldn’t be glorifying someone who has this history of allegedly stalking a woman,' and yet the story does exactly that. The cover frames the events of the past year as Colton’s 'Controversial Confession,' and the story is illustrated by sexy black-and-white photos, including one of Colton gazing directly into the camera lens while tugging at his shirt collar—a shirt from John Varvatos. Variety is helping Colton with his image so much they provided him with two stylists, designer clothing, and a professional photographer, never mind more than 3,700 mostly sympathetic words."

    TOPICS: Colton Underwood, Netflix, Coming Out Colton, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Carole Baskin, Reality TV