Netflix’s upcoming influencer reality show Byron Baes has seemingly garnered huge backlash from angry locals – before the show has even aired or revealed their cast.
But as protests for the show continue to make international headlines, some conspiracy theorists believe the fury is actually part of a well-planned publicity stunt, designed to drive excitement for the series by generating media attention.
While it’s clear some Byron Bay residents fear their coastal paradise may be ruined by the show, some suggest the ‘very Instagrammable,’ televised protests are only building hype for the show and the sign-holding ‘locals’ may be paid actors.
Conspiracy Theory: After Byron Baes garnered huge backlash and hit headlines across the globe, some sceptics are questioning if the ‘protests by locals’ are in fact a publicity stunt arranged by the Netflix show’s producers
‘Producers of #ByronBaes must be rapt with all this free promo for their new series – no-one would have given a rats about this corny idea until the #ByronNaes got on the case,’ one theorist commented.
‘Are the #Byron community sure there is not a mole amongst them creating these media ops for the show?’
‘This couldn’t be a better setup/publicity if they tried,’ another wrote, with someone replying: ‘Genius marketing’.
A fan account dedicated to the show added: ‘The more of this exposure, the better for the (already approved) show. We invite you all to be a part of the filming. Byron Bay is a very special location and many of the cast, crew & businessmen are locals!’
Intrigue: While it’s clear some Byron Bay residents fear their coastal paradise may be ruined by the show, some suggest the ‘very Instagrammable,’ televised protests are only building hype for the show and the sign-holding ‘locals’ may be paid actors
Speaking out: Many sceptics took to Instagram and Twitter to share their opinion on the protests this week
One fan believed the televised protests could make their way onto Byron Baes: ‘I have a feeling this will make the Netflix doco. Seems very Borat like. What is the chances the doco is about the people blowing up about the proposed show?’
‘Any publicity is good publicity,’ summarised another.
Meanwhile, genuine criticism continues to pour in for the show: ‘For some people Byron is nothing more than a theme park to be exploited. For others it is home, where grandparents live, friends and a social network.
‘RIP Byron,’ another added, alongside two crying emojis.
A media expert recently acknowledged that some locals were genuinely annoyed, but said Netflix will be ‘loving’ the publicity regardless.
Defence: It’s clear some people are furious with the plans, with one writing: ‘For some Byron is nothing but a theme park to be exploited. For others, it is a home’
‘Byron deserves better’: Angry revellers have even created a petition to halt the show’s production
The plot thickens: Indeed, while it appears that the locals are legitimately annoyed with the series coming to their shores, a media expert recently said Netflix will be ‘loving’ the publicity regardless
‘It’s getting them a lot of free publicity and coverage on television networks,’ Head of the University Of Technology’s marketing faculty Professor David Waller, told ABC.
‘It’s a clever strategy, a lot of companies will use controversy to build awareness… if you’re getting your opposition to talk about you, you must be doing something right.’
When approached by Daily Mail Australia regarding the growing conspiracy, Netflix declined to comment.
It comes after a handful of so-called Byron locals paddled out into the ocean to protest the show, while others stood by with placards that read ‘give Netflix the flick’ and ‘consult traditional owners’.
Ben Gordon, owner of The Byron Bay General Store, led calls to snub production – and is asking other local businesses to do the same.
‘They’ve simply turned up unannounced and they are proposing to drag our name through the mud, and make millions of dollars without offering anything back to the community,’ he told Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on Tuesday.
Mr Gordon said the prospective reality series is ‘a complete misrepresentation of who we are as a community’.
‘Today, what we’ve seen, is the real Byron, the community coming together for issues that we believe in,’ he said.
Meet your Byron Baes! According to a new report, born and bred locals Kathy and Ralph Brauer (pictured) will star in the show. And while they do have quite the following on their social media, they’re nothing like the bikini-clad Instagrammers locals believed to be in-line to star
Netflix is yet to confirm those taking part in the upcoming season – but according to The Daily Telegraph the first two rumoured cast members are not ‘vacuous, fake’ influencers as predicted, but rather ‘born and bred’ locals Kathy and Ralph Brauer.
The husband and wife own homeware, furniture and ladies fashion retailer Bisque Traders in Bangalow.
And while they do have quite the following on their store’s social media, they’re nothing like the bikini-clad Instagram stars first linked to the show.
Others rumoured to be joining the li influencer Ruby Tuesday Matthews, Zac Efron’s now ex-girlfriend Vanessa Valladares and The Block’s Elyse Knowles.
Over: Zac’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Valladares (pictured) is rumoured to be starring on the show