Blowing Smoke: Netflix promises to douse smoking lamp

by Glenn Lovell

Today’s non-story concerns some do-gooder consumer group and our very own Netflix, based in Los Gatos.

Seems the streaming behemoth has too many movies and series featuring chain smokers and/or vapers. And this according to the DC-based Truth Initiative is bad for impressionable teens who binge on “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black” and other home entertainment cash cows.

Without contesting the yawn-inducing findings, a contrite Netflix promises to do better in the future and start monitoring material rated TV-14 or PG-13. Unless ofsmoking course we’re talking about shows like “Stranger Things” and Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” that take place in some bygone era and depend on cigs for period authenticity.

C’mon, guys, the argument seems to go. Would anybody buy “Mad Men” or Tarantino’s upcoming “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” without that tell-tale blue haze.

With that barn-size caveat, which falls under directorial discretion, the streaming service, in essence, promises to comply. “We … recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people,” the company hedged in a statement to Variety.

Before we rush to congratulate Netflix for its benevolence, its fair’s fair civic-mindedness, remember this: the old school studios and networks have been regularly promising to clean up their butt-festooned back lots for years. It makes good copy. And better publicity.

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