Content warning: this article mentions sexual assault.
Netflix has refused to remove 365 Days from their library, despite calls for it to be scrapped from the streaming service.
“We believe strongly in giving our members around the world more choice and control over their Netflix viewing experience,” a spokesperson for Netflix told Reuters.
“Members can choose what they do and do not want to watch by setting maturity filters at a profile level and removing specific titles to protect from content they feel is too mature.”
Netflix also said that they had no part in the production of the film.
Welsh singer Duffy sent an open letter to Netflix publicly criticising their “irresponsible” release of Polish film 365 Days, which “glamorises the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping, and rape.”
365 Days, which has received terrible reviews but has been in Netflix’s top 10 ever since it was released last month, revolves around a Polish woman being imprisoned and abused by a Sicilian man for an entire year, as he wants her to fall in love with him.
It has proven to be such a huge success that a sequel was reportedly in the works. However the coronavirus pandemic has delayed its development.
Duffy addressed her letter to Netflix’s Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, which was published in its entirety on Deadline.
“365 Days glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape. This should not be anyone’s idea of entertainment, nor should it be described as such, or be commercialized in this manner,” Duffy wrote.
Duffy continued, saying she couldn’t believe Netflix “provides a platform for such ‘cinema’, that eroticises kidnapping and distorts sexual violence and trafficking as a ‘sexy’ movie.”
“I just can’t imagine how Netflix could overlook how careless, insensitive, and dangerous this is. It has even prompted some young women, recently, to jovially ask Michele Morrone, the lead actor in the film, to kidnap them,” she wrote.
Duffy said that when she was trafficked and raped she was “lucky to come away with her life:, but many people haven’t been as lucky as her and now she has to “witness these tragedies, and my tragedy, eroticised and demeaned.”
The singer went on to encourage Netflix and anyone who has watched the film to educate themselves on human trafficking and pledge to organisations who work to stop it.
Duffy opens up on being held captive
Back in February, Duffy revealed she “raped, drugged and held captive” in a shocking statement she shared on Instagram.
“You can only imagine the amount of times I thought about writing this,” the 35-year-old - whose birth name is Aimee Duffy - wrote.
“The way I would write it, how I would feel thereafter. Well, not entirely sure why now is the right time, and what it is that feels exciting and liberating for me to talk. I cannot explain it. Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why.”
Duffy ‘raped, drugged and held captive’
The 35-year-old - whose birth name is Aimee Duffy - said she was out for her birthday, when she was drugged at a restaurant and taken overseas.
“I was drugged then for four weeks and travelled to a foreign country,” she said. “I can’t remember getting on the plane and came round in the back of a travelling vehicle. I was put into a hotel room and the perpetrator returned and raped me.
“I remember the pain and trying to stay conscious in the room after it happened. I was stuck with him for another day, he didn’t look at me, I was to walk behind him, I was somewhat conscious and withdrawn. I could have been disposed of by him.”
She goes on to say she had contemplated running away to a neighbouring city or town.
“I flew back with him, I stayed calm and as normal as someone could in a situation like that, and when I got home, I sat, dazed, like a zombie. I knew my life was in immediate danger, he made veiled confessions of wanting to kill me.
“The perpetrator drugged me in my own home in the four weeks, I do not know if he raped me there during that time, I only remember coming round in the car in the foreign country and the escape that would happen by me fleeing in the days following that.”
In the immediate aftermath, Duffy explained she was too terrified to go to the authorities, for fear of her attacker finding her.
“I cannot remember getting home,” she wrote. “It didn’t feel safe to go to the police. I felt if anything went wrong, I would be dead, and he would have killed me.”
Duffy said the first person she ever spoke to was a psychologist months later, even though at the time the “thought of recovering was almost impossible”.
“In the aftermath I would not see someone, a physical soul, for sometimes weeks and weeks and weeks at a time, remaining alone,” she said.
“I would take off my pyjamas and throw them in the fire and put on another set. My hair would get so knotted from not brushing it, as I grieved, I cut it all off.”
Duffy said she moved five times in the three years following her ordeal as she never felt safe. That is until she found her ‘5th House’.
“I found somewhere to live, the 5th house, it was not as confined as the other houses, where I grieved silently, in townhouses or apartments. I felt he could not find me in the 5th house, I felt safe. I feel safe now,” she said.
After her follow-up album Endlessly, Duffy recorded three songs for - and had a role in - the 2015 crime-drama film Legend, before dropping off the radar for some time.
In December 2019, she posted a Facebook photo with the mysterious caption “2020,” prompting fans to beg, “Please come back” and to interpret it as a sign of an upcoming album.
Extra reporting by Gregory Wakeman