US streaming platform Netflix has rejected a call from Britain's culture minister to add disclaimers at the start of episodes of its hit series The Crown to make clear that it is a work of fiction, several British media reported on Sunday (Dec 6).
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is among several prominent figures in Britain who have argued that the scripted series, in which actors play members of the royal family, risked giving viewers a wrong and damaging impression of the royals.
According to the reports, Dowden and Netflix exchanged correspondence about the issue.
Netflix did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters requesting comment, and a spokeswoman for the culture ministry in London declined to comment.
Netflix was quoted by media reports as saying that it was confident its viewers knew the series was loosely based on true events.
"We have always presented The Crown as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it's a work of fiction that's broadly based on historical events," it said.
"As a result we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer".
Dowden had told the Mail on Sunday on Nov 28 that The Crown was "a beautifully produced work of fiction" but he was concerned that a generation of viewers who did not live through the events depicted may mistake fiction for fact.
While many British viewers have enjoyed watching The Crown, the most recent season has attracted criticism from some commentators over scenes suggesting that the late Princess Diana was treated coldly, even cruelly, by senior royals.
Columnist Simon Jenkins of the Guardian newspaper accused the fourth season of having "upped the fabrication and the offence".
Arguing that modern history was "too close to what should be sacred ground – bearing witness to passing events", he wrote that artistic licence could not justify fabrications that showed living or recently dead people in the worst possible light.