'Hot Instagrammers' Netflix show sparks protest

Jack Guy, CNNUpdated 19th April 2021
Byron Bay is a mecca for surfers on Australia's east coast.
(CNN) — Thousands of locals in famed Australian beach town Byron Bay have signed a petition against a planned Netflix "docu-soap" set in the area.
The streaming company announced plans to film a series called "Byron Baes" in a press release April 7, sparking opposition in the form of an online petition which had garnered more than 6,700 signatures on Monday.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop," said Netflix.
Byron Bay is "the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original" which will follow "hot Instagrammers living their best lives," continued the press release.
The planned "docu-soap" is named "Byron Baes."
The planned "docu-soap" is named "Byron Baes."
But locals have put together a petition calling on local authorities to refuse to grant filming permits and rescind any permits that have already been granted, citing the detrimental impact of filming on the community and the environment.
"We are a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents," reads the petition.
"We do not want to be cast as the perfect backdrop and magnet for social media influencers. We do not want to appear in 'Byron Baes.'"
The petition calls on authorities to "address systemic issues of housing affordability, coastal erosion, increasing unemployment, traffic management challenges, low high school completion rates and high levels of gendered and domestic violence."
The community is worried about "the fallout of being showcased on a global stage in a way that can only harm our local environment and community."
Ben Gordon, who owns the Byron Bay General Store, told CNN affiliate 7News he turned down the opportunity for his business to feature in the series.
"They're making up their own narrative, drama and gossip and the outcome will paint a completely misleading and detrimental image of what Byron is," said Gordon.
CNN Travel listed Byron Bay on its rundown of the world's best beaches in 2013. In 2018, actor Chris Hemsworth told CNN Travel that he had chosen to relocate his family from Los Angeles to Byron Bay in order to live a more low-key life.