Josh O'Connor Slams Calls for a Disclaimer on The Crown as 'Outrageous'
Josh O'Connor believes The Crown's audience understands that the show is a work of fiction.
The actor, who portrays Prince Charles in the Netflix hit's third and fourth seasons, reacted to U.K. government’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden requested the show adds a disclaimer to make it clear it is a drama based on the lives of real people.
"We were slightly let down by our culture secretary, whose job it is to encourage culture," O'Connor told the Los Angeles Times during an interview for The Envelope: The Podcast. "In my opinion, it's pretty outrageous that he came out and said what he said. Particularly, in this time when he knows that the arts are struggling and they're on their knees, I think it's a bit of a low blow."
"My personal view is that audiences understand," he continued. "You have to show them the respect and understand that they're intelligent enough to see it for what it is, which is pure fiction."
Dowden encouraged Netflix to add a disclaimer before episodes of The Crown in a November interview with The Mail on Sunday, shortly after the fourth season — which focuses largely on the relationship between Princess Diana and Prince Charles — premiered.
"It's a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that," Dowden told the outlet. "Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact."
Netflix retorted that they have "no plans" to add a disclaimer.
"We have always presented The Crown as a drama and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events," the streaming service said in a statement on Saturday, according to The Guardian. "As a result we have no plans, and see no need, to add a disclaimer."
Diana’s brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, spoke out about the show, agreeing that a warning for viewers is needed. He told a U.K. morning show that Netflix and the producers should be “honest with the consumer.”
"I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if at the beginning of each episode it stated that 'this isn’t true but it is based around some real events,'" he said on the Lorraine show on ITV. "Because then everyone would understand it’s a drama for drama's sake."
Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in the series, also urged Netflix to make the clarifications to viewers.