‘Hype House’ is a dangerous step into trash for Netflix

In late April, Netflix announced they would be airing and producing a reality series focused on the controversial and headline-grabbing collective of TikTok stars known as ‘The Hype House’, a decision that quickly came under fire and created outrage from Netflix subscribers and users.

Many believe that the members do not need or deserve a bigger platform due to the numerous controversies that have surrounded the very people the show will be spotlighting. For example, former Hype House Tony Lopez was accused of sending sexually explicit photos and messages to an underage girl and soon after was sued by two teenage girls for sexual battery and emotional distress, along with accusing two founders, Chase Hudson and Thomas Petrou, of negligence.

Other members including Lopez have also been previously accused of homophobia and many drew flack during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This especially came for a virtually maskless birthday party last July for Hype House member Larri Merritt in the group’s mansion in California, during the state’s highest COVID numbers. 

The list of creators who were a part of this group formerly included Addison Rae, the highest-earning TikTok personality according to Forbes and singer who recently released her single “Obsessed” which was universally criticized by both critics and fans. It also included both Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, the former being the most followed TikTok star at 114 million followers and the latter being a TikTok influencer and singer, whose 2020 single “Be Happy” reached over a billion views on TikTok, 100 million views on YouTube and 56 million streams on Spotify.

The creation of this show, however, has invited controversy towards Netflix’s decision making, especially surrounding their previously disliked cancellation and renewal process, which has drawn anger from subscribers in the past. The decision has caused some users to go as far as ending their subscriptions to Netflix and starting petitions for Netflix to cancel the show, one even receiving over 50,000 signatures.

 In the past, Netflix’s cancellations have come under controversy for their removal of popular, highly rated shows over less viewed films and shows. One of these was the highly controversial French film ‘Cuties’, which was believed to  sexualize children, as well as the seemingly frequent cancellation of LGBTQ+ led shows such as ‘The Society’ and ‘I Am Not Okay With This,’ among others. 

Take the show ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters,’ which garnered critical acclaim from critics and fans, including having a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was included on many best of 2020 television show lists, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker. Now take the show ‘Emily In Paris,’ which garnered just a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was largely criticized for its lack of depth in its characters along with its portrayal of the French and Parisians and was widely considered to be a flop, but drew big streaming numbers. 

The former show was controversially cancelled and the latter was renewed for a second season, drawing outcry from fans and subscribers. This is just one example of Netflix’s incredibly flawed renewal system. And the number one trend to come out of it? Netflix is choosing to put up trash like this over quality shows; take your pick, plenty of them have been cancelled.

The fact that this streaming megatitan that makes billions of billions of dollars every year decides to put its money not into projects that people have been proven to like, that critics have been proven to like. They choose not to put their money towards projects that most agree are actually good movies or television shows, but instead into projects we would be better off without and of course, ‘The Hype House.’

 Is this where we are nowadays? Giving a shining spotlight to eight people who have shown over and over little to no respect for COVID-19 prevention measures and hid positive tests, who are being accused of sexual harassment and abuse, who have been accused of racism, homophobia and a whole bunch of other things under the sun? 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is who Netflix chooses to give their spotlight to, truly shining pillars of our world today. They choose to air a project that would be lucky to be called a dumpster fire.

While I’m sure the show will likely be destroyed by critics, fans will probably flock to it and sing its praises, but I have to ask: why? Why do we encourage this? Why do we as people continue to watch shows like this? It’s eight people who are already known by many, eight people who are likely set for life financially and yet, Netflix wants to ensure “longevity for their careers.” 

“I have to ask: why? Why do we encourage this? Why do we as people continue to watch shows like this? It’s eight people who are already known by many, eight people who are likely set for life financially and yet, Netflix wants to ensure ‘longevity for their careers.’”

— Finnegan Courtney '23

They cancel shows which are undisputedly better than this sure-to-be train wreck of a show. They cancel shows starring actors and actresses who work hard and deserve this much more than eight social media influencers who dance on TikTok and make more money than most of us will in a lifetime. They cancel shows that people actually want to see for a reality show, if one can even call it that, about a collective of TikTok creators that went vacationing and partied during the height of a deadly global pandemic.

Now, I won’t pretend to be an expert in television shows and making decisions such as this, and while I’m sure most of this is simply a money grab for Netflix, is it really worth putting garbage on your streaming library? Sometimes, yes, that can be good. Take ‘The Circle’ or ‘Love is Blind,’ two shows that were more than a bit trashy but were huge hits. And that’s ok; sometimes trashy television can indeed be good to get your mind off the world… but the people in those shows aren’t millionaires. They’re real people who the average streamer can connect with, empathize with. That isn’t ‘Hype House’. Those aren’t people who have been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting underage women. 

‘Hype House’ continues the same trash television trend but the fact that Netflix chooses to give space for these eight people, eight people who don’t deserve a bigger microphone to the world is angering. It is frustrating and above all else, it’s just stupid. A stupid decision to showcase people who should not be. And certainly, these people don’t deserve this shown, especially over other much more deserving Netflix shows, now cancelled to make space for this 100% pure, unadulterated garbage.