At the end of May, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made it seem like the internet streaming giant was going to completely wuss out of the ongoing fight for net neutrality, but on Thursday, the company jumped right back in.
“Netflix will never outgrow the fight for #NetNeutrality. Everyone deserves an open Internet,” the company’s official account tweeted, including a link to Fight for the Future’s Day of Action on July 12. The tweet is a direct reference to Hasting’s comments in May, in which the CEO told Recode’s Peter Kafka that the company was essentially too big and successful to worry about little things like online freedom and equality.
“It’s not our primary battle at this point,” Hastings said. “We’re big enough to get the deals we want.”
Hasting’s comments raised a lot of eyebrows, because five years ago, his company was one of the loudest proponents of net neutrality, or the concept of sensible regulation forcing internet service providers to treat all data the same, instead of opening paid fast lanes for premium subscribers and throttling traffic to competing websites. Hastings was essentially saying “we’re rich and powerful enough that we don’t really care about the little guy anymore.”
“We had to carry the water when we were growing up and we were small,” Hastings said. “[Now] other companies have to be on that leading edge.”
And in Netflix’s absence, other companies did step up. Amazon, Reddit, and several other sites big and small immediately signed on to Fight for the Future’s “Day of Action,” in which websites will participate in a coordinated social media and online campaign to push the issue to their users and subscribers. But even those heavyweights won’t save an open internet alone, and Netflix spouting some “eh, not our problem” crap was a supreme example of corporate indifference. Fortunately, it appears the company has changed its tune. Inverse reached out to Netflix to confirm that the company would be participating in the July 12 day of action, and we’ll update this story if we hear back.