M. Night Shyamalan’s Split may have given him a new lease of life in the eyes of the public, but it has sparked controversy online, leading to a petition to have it removed from Netflix.
The film sees James McAvoy play a person with dissociative identity disorder, with 24 different personalities of various levels of maturity, strength, and demeanor.
Revealed to be a secret Unbreakable sequel right at the very end, McAvoy was lauded for his performance. However, four years after the movie was released and it became available on Netflix, viewers have voiced concerns with the arguably problematic depiction of the condition, and demanded that it be removed from the streaming service.
The petition comes from a good place, and there is definitely a place for serious discussion over depiction of mental illness in pop culture. Disney Plus’s Moon Knight series also tackles dissociative identity disorder, but hasn’t copped criticism like Split has.
Here’s how a portion of the petition reads.
This petition is aimed at Netflix, Inc., who currently airs Split on the streaming platform in select countries, giving readily available access to the heavily dehumanizing stigma that this movie creates. The petition is not from one person- or a single collective of people- but from the dissociative identity disorder community at large, and any one who considers themselves to be an advocate to those with mental illnesses. We need to decide where to draw the line on entertainment media, and vastly under-represented minority groups that struggle to be seen in the first place is a good place to start. The dissociative identity disorder community and its allies ask Netflix, Inc. to either remove the title from its service, or add a disclaimer that the film is not representative of DID as a whole.
Netflix has now removed Split from its library, but it is unknown whether the petition came in as a factor or if an exclusivity deal with Split’s distributor Universal has been made on another streaming platform.