Deaf and hard of hearing Queer Eye fans have taken to Twitter this week to complain about the poor quality of closed captions on the Netflix series.
Viewers have accused the show of “fundamentally chang[ing] the experience of the television show” by bleeping swear words, and even changing the exact swears used in the captions.
it fundamentally changes the experience of the television show for anyone who is d/Deaf or HOH, and it does so without their consent. that’s seriously ableist, @netflix— ace ratcliff ♿️ (@MortuaryReport) June 27, 2018
The changes I’ve noticed are usually to make things more concise. They leave bits out or reword part of a sentence to present the same general thought but with more brevity. Seems an odd choice to me. What’s wrong with the quote as-is?— larisa ????️????✨ (@iamthelolrus) June 28, 2018
It’s censorship and it’s patronizing, it should read exactly as what anyone is hearing, that’s it, end of story. It’s wrong for so many reasons. This is true for any close captioning on any channel or program. Get it together @netflix.— Heather – Awkward and Amazing Simultaneously (@Ellinorianne) June 28, 2018
They’ve also said that Netflix captions – on more than just Queer Eye – don’t exactly match up with what is said on the show, arguing such an omission amounts to censorship. Viewers also brought up issues around whitewashing AAVE speech, and writing “(speaks Italian)” instead of translating speech in a language other than English.
I've been reporting shit subtitles on Netflix for ages and they never get fixed. I started keeping track in January and periodically going back to check if anything had changed. They're NEVER fixed. pic.twitter.com/vPfpmTs6k5— Gemma (@herder_of_cats) June 26, 2018
Be precise and convey exactly what they say, don't censor or clean up their "broken" language. If they swear and the sound isn't censored, DO NOT CENSOR THE CAPTIONS. I'm so over hearing privilege and whitewashing.— ????️???? Rogan Shannon ????️???? (@shan_no_nosays) June 24, 2018
I understand bits and parts of other languages, I want to see full transcription of what’s being said. It’s not fair to take that information away from us, when people who can hear get everything even if they don’t fully understand it.— ????️???? Rogan Shannon ????️???? (@shan_no_nosays) June 24, 2018
The people behind the eye-opening threads, particularly differently abled writer Ace Ratcliff, have urged others to report, report, report caption errors to Netflix in the hope their collective effort will actually lead to a concrete change in the quality of the platform’s subtitles.
to do so, head into your @netflix account! settings > viewing activity > find the problem episode(s) > report a problem > problem with subtitle or captions— ace ratcliff ♿️ (@MortuaryReport) June 27, 2018
While Netflix themselves have not directly responded to fans, Queer Eye‘s very own culture expert Karamo Brown has weighed in, saying that he will “bring up the issue internally and won’t stop until something changes“.
Reading everyone’s comments breaks my heart. I don’t know how much power I have but know, the next time I’m at Netflix I’m going to bring up this issue internally & wont stop until something changes. Deaf & HOH people should have the same experience as everyone else! #TypoFixed https://t.co/AQ4emvgUBv— Karamo Brown (@KaramoBrown) June 28, 2018
And people are pretty pleased with the good man’s plan to agitate for change:
hate it when my phone autocorrects that way! thank you, karamo. it means the world to know you’re behind us and using the influence you have to correct ableism! makes me wanna hug you even more than i already want to. thank you for making the world a better place— ace ratcliff ♿️ (@MortuaryReport) June 28, 2018
Yes thank you!! I’m not d/Deaf or HOH, I’m autistic with sensory processing difficulties and I rely on subtitles to hear words instead of noise – I really enjoyed Queer Eye but missed a LOT because of the subtitling issue. I appreciate you aiming to amplify disabled voices here.— Scout Barbour-Evans (@scoutriver) June 28, 2018
More like you, please!! My Mom is Deaf and I have been noticing this for years. There’s no ethical reason to not reflect the spoken language accurately. Captions don’t need to be conservative if the spoken language isn’t. Same experience for all.— rachel marie ???? (@rachface) June 28, 2018
As HoH person, seeing someone step up and advocate in a place where I can’t makes such a huge difference, thank you!!— a small, aggresive crater (@JennaTBruce) June 28, 2018
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