Australians protest against filming of Netflix series over fears it will ruin town’s reputation

Residents and business owners in the New South Wales town of Byron Bay have protested over the proposed filming of Netflix series “Bryon Baes” in the town, with fears it may wreck the town’s reputation.

A cancel symbol was formed by around 100 surfers who paddled out to sea on Tuesday in an attempt to stop Netflix from making the series about social media influencers in Byron Bay.

Meanwhile, owners of several of the town’s businesses have refused to sign filming permits to allow the series to be shot on their premises over fears that their reputation could be spoiled.

A petition “Boycott Byron Baes Netflix Series by Refusing to Grant Filming Permits” has also gathered over 8,000 signatures in an attempt to stop filming from taking place.

The owners of establishments including The Byron Bay General Store and No Bones restaurant, also met on Friday night to discuss what could be done to protect the community from the streaming giant filming there.

Ben Gordon, who owns The Byron Bay General Store told Australia’s Nine Network television at the Main Beach protest: “They’re proposing to drag our name through the mud and make millions of dollars without offering anything back to the community and completely misrepresenting who we are and it’s totally wrong.”

“There was no consultation whatsoever. They just came in unannounced,” Mr Gordon added, as well as saying that most of the cast were not actually from the town.

The mayor of Byron Shire, Simon Richardson said: “It’s potentially going to threaten businesses if the portrayal of Byron is as absurd as I guess a lot of the doco-soap-reality shows are,” reported the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“As a community, we should have a right to be able to not be exploited and to go about our business and also just have a community that has its real and genuine concerns and challenges shared rather than a picture postcard filmed with people who have potentially been here for five minutes,” Mr Richardson added.

Netflix Australia announced the new series on Twitter, describing the show as: “A docu-soap series following a ‘feed’ of hot Instagrammers living their best lives, being their best selves, creating the best drama content. #nofilter guaranteed.”

The streaming giant said in a statement that its first Australian reality series would “aim to build a connection between the people we meet in the show and the audience”.

They added that they had chosen Byron Bay as a location due to “the area’s unique attributes as a melting pot of entrepreneurialism, lifestyle and health practices.”

The New South Wales town is internationally famous and has a crowd of celebrities from around the world who are either based or spend time there. These include acting couple Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky who have built a mansion there. Other celebrities known to spend time in Byron Bay include Matt Damon, Zac Efron and Simon Baker.

This is not the first time Byron Bay has prevented big businesses from coming to the town. Both KFC and McDonalds were stopped from opening restaurants there following protest campaigns.

The show is scheduled to begin filming next month.

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