Our Flag Means Death cast(l), David Zaslov(r)

Max Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘Our Flag Means Death’ fans launch #DontStreamOnMax campaign, want David Zaslav fired

Fans of 'Our Flag Means Death,' one of many shows that Max has canceled recently, began a campaign to hold the network accountable. 

 

Kira Deshler

Pop Culture

Posted on May 16, 2024   Updated on May 16, 2024, 9:58 am CDT

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For fans of canceled TV shows, the phrase “eat the rich” becomes more prescient each day. Now, these fans are taking their grievances up with the bosses in an effort to make changes within the industry.

Last week, fans of Our Flag Means Death, one of many shows that Max has canceled recently, began a campaign to hold the network accountable. 

Initiated by the X account @adoptourcrew, the #DontStreamOnMax campaign was set to coincide with Warner Bros.’ Q1 2024 earnings call, a strategic move to call into question the company’s financial status.

The initial post lists the reasons why viewers are taking this stance, which include Max “shelving completed films in favor of tax write-offs,” “canceling critically acclaimed shows and prioritizing reboots and existing IP,” “not negotiating in good faith,” and “removing diverse content.”

Fans push #DontStreamOnMax campaign

Fans took up this call to action, using the hashtags #DontStreamOnMax and #FireDavidZaslav to share their grievances. Many noted that subscribers want more than just recycled IP

The campaign also coincided with the announcement of a new series of Lord of the Rings movies centered on Gollum, and the mixed responses to the project further drives home this point. Others voiced concerns that at least one of these spin-offs is written by a TERF, a reference to J.K. Rowling and her transphobic views.

Some called out the values of the company, suggesting that they don’t care about representation and aren’t loyal to fans. Many highlighted the fact that Max seems more likely to cancel “diverse” shows, including those featuring queer characters. Fans of the recently canceled CBS series NCIS: Hawai’i also made this claim, which is supported by evidence in GLAAD’s TV report.

“The disrespect he has for creators and consumers is staggering,” one fan wrote about Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. Others remarked that Max doesn’t seem to actually care about or invest in the content they include on their platform. Fans pointed to a now-deleted tweet by John Green, the writer of Max’s new film Turtles All The Way Down, who alleged that Max refused to promote the movie

An anti-capitalist critique?

Much of this critique is anti-capitalist in nature. By tying this campaign to Max’s financial performance, fans are working to prove that the company’s single-minded focus on the bottom line is the cause of their declining numbers. One fan tracked Max’s falling stock prices with glee, while others pointed out their cruel practice of scrapping completed films to get tax breaks.

Many posts took aim at Zaslav in particular. “#FireDavidZaslav because he’s ruining lives. Countless people have lost and will lose their jobs because his greed is bottomless,” posted one fan

Our Flag Means Death viewers were quick to highlight the human cost of Zaslav’s decisions, noting how many hardworking crew members now find themselves jobless.

Several posters suggested that many jobs could be saved if Zaslav’s salary wasn’t so “exorbitant.” “One person doesn’t need THAT MUCH MONEY. Especially today,” another fan pointed out, echoing broader critiques of wealth and income disparity. 

Why it matters

The #DontStreamOnMax campaign isn’t quite a proletariat uprising, but it is a promising case of fans trying to exercise agency within an unjust industry

These fans point to capitalism as the reason for this decline in diverse, queer representation, a critique that certainly has teeth.

Former Max subscribers and Our Flag Means Death fans are demanding more from our corporate overlords, and, indeed, arguing that they deserve more, a common refrain within fan discourse

If the only language these executives speak is the language of money, then this strategy of hitting them where it hurts may very well bear fruit


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*First Published: May 16, 2024, 6:00 am CDT