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13th May 2024

Netflix under fire for scene featuring fully erect penis

Charlie Herbert

‘Viewers shouldn’t be forced to see pornography’

Netflix has been criticised for a scene in its latest mini-series in which viewers see a man’s fully erect penis.

A Man in Full is one of Netflix’s latest releases, having been released on the platform earlier this month.

The six-part series is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff), and sees Jeff Daniels play Charlie Croker, a real estate mogul in Atlanta facing sudden bankruptcy.

As his political and business interests collide amid the crisis, Charlie seeks to defend his empire from those attempting to capitalise off of his fall from grace.

Created by David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, The Undoing), the series is directed by Regina King (One Night in Miami) and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), and has been likened to HBO’s hit drama Succession.

You can watch the trailer for the series below.

The series has so far received somewhat favourable reviews, holding a score of 6.6/10 on IMDb.

But in recent days, Netflix has come under fire for one particular scene in the series, which shows a fully erect penis.

Despite the series having a warning for “sex, language, sex reference, sexual images, injury detail’ and having an age rating of 15, many have been left shocked by the scene which features in the final episode.

In the episode, character Raymond Peepgrass, played by Tom Pelphrey, takes some Viagra before standing fully naked in front of Croker.

Safe to say, the show doesn’t shy away from showing viewers what Viagra does, and this has left critics divided over whether it was really necessary.

Writing for the Spectator, Mary Killen said: “I don’t want to see graphic sexual images when I’m watching a drama. There is too much already and it is reducing us to no better than barnyard animals.

“Viewers shouldn’t be forced to see pornography. This trend will end in tears as it’s depressing, unmysterious and taking away some of life’s magic.”

The scene takes place at the end of the Netflix series (Netflix)

Vulture’s Jen Chaney said it was understandable if viewers felt “shocked, flabbergasted, disgusted, profoundly confused, or some combination of all of these emotions.” She added that the episode was “a misguided and bizarre way to end a limited series that wouldn’t recognize subtlety if it walked up and waved its penis in its face.

Meanwhile, writer Anne Atkins, a contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, said: “Where are the boundaries now, Netflix? 

“A visibly erect penis is not only revolting to many normal viewers but artistically completely unnecessary: a glance down, a raised eyebrow would have done far more.”

Whilst Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code does state that sex and nudity should be shown after the watershed on television, there are no other clear guidelines around nudity.

And because Netflix is a streaming service, it doesn’t fall under the broadcast regulator’s remit.

Politicians have even had their say on the scene, with Tory MP Alexander Stafford saying: “If Netflix is serving up this sort of low-grade, pornographic rubbish, we need to give Ofcom full oversight of the streaming giant’s output as soon as possible.”

Fellow Conservative MP Sara Britcliffe added: “Streaming services are available at any time of day, so watershed protection doesn’t apply.”

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