Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are used to weathering criticism, having endured plenty of it during a tumultuous final season of the HBO show. But recently inspired still more controversy, when word broke about their next project: a Netflix show about a world where slavery didn’t end in the United States. But it turns out that controversy has very little to do with Benioff and Weiss themselves.
Instead the culprit is really Liu Cixen, author of The Three-Body Problem, a series of novels Benioff and Weiss hoped to adapt. Cixen recently made controversial comments about Uyghur Muslims in an interview with The New Yorker, which drew criticism from a number of conservative voices and politicians in the United States, who called on Netflix to stop work on the project. Netflix responded to the criticism on Saturday, issuing a statement that distanced the streaming service from the author’s comments but defended the show in a statement, according to Variety.
The streamer has stood firm in a responding letter, repeatedly pointing to the fact that “Mr. Liu is the author of the books, not the creator of this series.”
“Mr. Liu’s comments are not reflective of the views of Netflix or of the show’s creators, nor are they part of the plot or themes of the show,” wrote Netflix vice president of public policy Dean Garfield in the letter.
Netflix made sure to not condone the statements and clearly stated the author isn’t involved in the show’s creation on Netflix, but it’s an inauspicious start for the series, to say the least.