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27th Jun 2023

Netflix faces backlash as Titanic added to site days after submersible tragedy

By Steve Hopkins

The addition is causing outrage in the US.

Netflix has been accused of trying to “capitalise” on the Titan submersible tragedy by streaming the Titanic from Sunday on their US and Canada site.

People are questioning the timing around the decision, given it has only been a few days since five people lost their lives in the OceanGate vessel while trying to view the wreckage of the ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Netflix is overstepping the boundaries of decency on this timing,” one person wrote on Twitter. “People died in a tragic accident [at] the Titanic site and now to capitalise on the moment to garner viewers is beyond distasteful.”

Other users said the streaming services’ decision to return the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster on July 1 was “crazy shameless” as the “timing is so wrong”. However, another person simply said, “This is business.”

Communications were lost with the Titan one hour and 45 minutes after it set off on June 28, sparking a race against time to find the 21-foot-long vessel that had just 96-hours of emergency oxygen and limited rations on board (although some have suggested the tragic outcome was known Monday).

The US Coast Guard announced last Thursday that debris had been found on the seabed, 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the bow of the Titanic, leaving experts to determine “a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle” that has claimed the lives of everyone on board: British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, 61, French navy veteran Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman, 19, who was “terrified” but went along as a Father’s Day gift.

While the timing of the Kate Winslet-Leonardo DiCaprio film might look bad for Netflix, Variety reports that it is unlikely the decision is in any way related to the Titan tragedy.

Sources familiar with the arrangement told the outlet the timing is a coincidence as the streamer’s licensing deals are ironed out long in advance.

Variety suggested the decision could have been made months ago.

OceanGate’s submersible was designed to take five people to a depth of 4,000 meters to visit the wreckage of the Titanic at a cost of £195,00 each. The trip was meant to last 10 hours.

The Netflix controversy comes after Titanic director, James Cameron, has been outspoken about safety concerns surrounding the Titan.

Titanic is available to stream exclusively in Ireland on Disney+.