Alberta is upset with the Netflix children’s film Bigfoot Family, saying it’s “brainwashing our kids with anti-oil and gas propaganda.”
The provincially funded Alberta War Room—set up to counter anti-oil messaging and “defend” the oil industry—deemed the animated film about sasquatches to be full of “misinformation.”
The film’s premise is that the titular Bigfoot family (a sequel to the popular Son of Bigfoot) saves a wilderness preserve in Alaska from an oil company that wants to ravage the lands for profits. By all accounts, it has all the schlock you would expect from a kid’s movie including over-the-top villains.
In a blog post called “Tell the Truth Netflix,” the Albertan War Room, officially known as the Canadian Energy Centre (CEC), outlined why that is not cool.
“It even shows oil being extracted by blowing up a valley using glowing red bombs that look like something out of an action movie,” says the blog. The blog post does not make note of the plan that some in the Albertan oil industry had in the 1960s to use underground nuclear explosions to extract that sweet, sweet black gold.
What the blog does do is ask people to send a pre-written email to a Netflix communication employee about some good things the oil industry has done, including the interesting math that “since 2012, Canadian oil sands producers have spent $13 billion with Indigenous-owed businesses, including a record $21.1 billion in 2018.” It also demands that Netflix creates pro-oil-industry films and television shows.
“Children are the future, and they deserve the truth,” reads the blog.
Pundits and social media users unsurprisingly dunked on the campaign. In a statement to CBC News, Canadian Energy Centre CEO Tom Olsen said it launched the campaign after a parent flagged the film, and that more than 1,000 parents had sent letters to Netflix. According to the CBC, Olsen makes $195,000 a year.
Alberta’s War Room has been an embarrassment for the United Conservative Party government since it was first announced in 2019. The CEC originally received a budget of $30,000,000 (which after many, many embarrassments was recently cut by 90 percent).
The ineptitude started at the very beginning with accusations of cronyism after it hired Olsen, a failed UCP candidate, as CEO, and got two scandals for the price of one after ripping off not one but two logos from software companies. The CEC now just uses its name as a logo.
The CEC has been widely criticized as being ineffective, lacking transparency, and being a big ol’ waste of money. To date its biggest campaigns to defend the oil industry’s honour are demanding space in small-town papers so it can counter editorials making fun of the CEC, having to apologize for tweeting out incorrect information, and now attempting to cancel a Netflix show about an environmental Bigfoot family.
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