Netflix urged to put warnings on horror films with disfigured characters ahead of Halloween
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A charity has called on streaming platforms to add new on-screen warnings before certain films start.
The likes of Netflix and other platforms have been urged to caution viewers about what they're going to see before they settle down and grab the popcorn.
But according to the charity, a host of villains that we love to hate reinforce negative stereotypes about visible differences.
It's chief executive Heather Blake penned a letter to streaming giants asking for them to sensitively warn viewers of this.
Changing Faces said that Halloween is often a 'anxious and stressful' time for some people with disfigurements.
"Villainous characters with scars, marks, burns or conditions are often recreated as costumes, as well as becoming terms of abuse in everyday life," the letter read.
Blake continued: "The film industry plays a role in this by reinforcing old-fashioned and harmful stereotypes.
"These carry through to everyday life for those with visible differences in ways that can have a lasting impact.
"Harmful beliefs can be reinforced through instant access to decades of archived content without explanation of the impact."
The letter advised film descriptions to be updated with warnings about 'the negative portrayal of those with visible differences'.
As well as this, they want films to be preceded by an 'on-screen caveat that highlights it contains harmful tropes'.
The charity also said support and advice sources should be signposted at the end of the film for viewers.
"Consider signposting to support for those affected or seeking more information about the experiences of those with visible differences at the end of the film."
Blake's message added: "Streaming platforms can help raise awareness and move the industry forward by acknowledging these film stereotypes."
Changing Faces launched it's I Am Not Your Villain campaign in 2018 with support from the British Film Institute (BFI).
The BFI announced it would no longer fund films in which villains appear with facial scarring.
Rami Malek starred as baddie Safin who had facial scarring in the 2021 spy film.