Rhys Darby as Stede Bonnet and Taika Waititi as Captain Blackbeard in Our Flag means death with hashtags '#DontStreamOnMax' '#WelcomeToMax' and '#DontGetAttached' written over it

Max (Public Domain)

Behind ‘Our Flag Means Death’ fans’ strategic campaigns to hold Max accountable for cancellations

We spoke to the architects behind the #DontStreamOnMax and #WelcomeToMax #DontGetAttached campaigns.

 

Kira Deshler

Pop Culture

Decoding Fandom is a weekly column that dives deep into the world of fan culture and runs on Wednesdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox. 


Last month, I reported on a social media campaign launched by fans of Our Flag Means Death, aimed to hold Max accountable for canceling shows featuring queer people and people of color and prioritizing the bottom line above all else. These campaigns, notable for their organized approach and focus on Max’s financial status, represent a compelling example of a long-standing fan practice.

I wanted to get a better sense of how these campaigns emerged and what strategies fans use to lend visibility to their cause, so I spoke to the architects behind the #DontStreamOnMax and #WelcomeToMax #DontGetAttached campaigns about their digital projects.

The #DontStreamOnMax campaign began in early 2024 after Max canceled five popular and critically acclaimed series: WarriorOur Flag Means DeathJuliaRap Sh!t, and The Flight Attendant. In May, a fan-led group called Adopt Our Crew “strategically revived the campaign to coincide with the WBD Q1 2024 earnings call” (via their press release) and the hashtag became a trending topic.

Adopt Our Crew is a group of friends who bonded over their love of Our Flag Means Death. They’re located all over the globe, which means there’s always someone online to man the account and share breaking news. They told me that the group “was created to help maintain momentum for the campaign to get another streaming service to pick up the show and to help keep up morale in the fandom.”

Adopt Our Crew revealed that they try to use the hashtag during periods when there is already attention on Warner Bros. Discovery and Max in order to boost their message, which is why they scheduled the last campaign to coincide with the company’s earnings call. They also promote the campaign when another Max show or film gets canceled, which, as they noted, “happens quite often lately.”

Inside the viral #DontStreamOnMax campaign

When I asked about their intentions with the campaign, they explained that the goal has changed over time. While there was initially an effort to get Our Flag Means Death renewed, creator David Jenkins has since confirmed the show is over for good. Now, they’re focused on “our beloved cast and crew and their new projects, supporting queer media to gain the attention and social media traction it deserves, and to providing some insight on the entertainment industry’s situation for our followers.”

They want to expose how Max promotes their “diverse” content when it suits them but doesn’t actually support queer media, a strategy that has alienated audiences and resulted in profit losses

In that vein, they planned their June 3 campaign to coincide with Warner Bros. Discovery’s annual stockholder meeting and the beginning of Pride Month, highlighting the fact that their supposed values of inclusion and creativity don’t align with their recent actions.

#WelcomeToMax #DontGetAttached is another fan campaign with similar goals. Created by the @SaveOFMDCrew, the campaign began on May 21st in part to coincide with Max’s launch in Europe, the crew shared. Ariana Perry and Amanda Catron from the Never Left Podcast, who helped promote the campaign, told me it was intended “to communicate how Max really feels about their audience.” Alongside the SaveOFMDCrew, Perry and Catron posted on X using the hashtags on that date, reaching out to popular accounts to help boost the message, and it eventually became a trending topic.

Like the #DontStreamOnMax campaign, the aim of the #DontGetAttached campaign is broader than renewing Our Flag Means Death, and Perry and Catron told me they wanted to raise awareness about Max’s troubling business practices and prove that representation matters.

When I asked about why Our Flag Means Death has provoked such a strong reaction from viewers, Perry and Catron repeated a common refrain among TV fans: “It’s about more than a show.” 

They highlighted the power of seeing yourself represented on screen and noted that the series “emphasizes the concepts of found family and belonging,” an idea that’s become a core tenant of the fandom.

Why it matters

When a show touches people, the bonds it creates outlast the series itself. That’s certainly true of Our Flag Means Death, though in this case, these connections have inspired a larger movement.

What’s unique about these campaigns is the way they strategically target Max’s business practices and finances, using the company’s desire for viral content against them and pointing to systemic issues in the industry.

By canceling Our Flag Means Death, a show that speaks to viewers on a profound level, Max unintentionally mobilized a group of fans with something to fight for


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