'Shameful': Netflix’s major miss in new 'motherhood' ad blasted

Netflix has come under fire after a new ad campaign made a swing only to spectacularly miss in the eyes of many viewers.

The streaming platform released a campaign called ‘Motherhood in Focus’ celebrating motherhood to their social channels earlier this month, complete with inspiring imagery, emotive voice-over and Amy from Brooklyn 99.

Melissa Fumero appears in Motherhood in Focus Netflix clips under fire for 'awful' mum message
Melissa Fumero, or Amy from Brooklyn 99 narrated the now-controversial clip with her baby in tow. Photo: Netflix

Unfortunately, as many women have now pointed out, what the clip seems to be celebrating is, in fact, an insane criteria expected of new mothers.

The clip feature actress Melissa Fumero, baby perched on lap, reading out an inspiring monologue as the camera cuts to various mother – expectant, brand new and veterans – carrying out their jobs on film sets.

Woman pumps breastmilk on set Netflix Motherhood in Focus campaign
The women in the clip pump breastmilk on set in scenes some called 'awful'. Photo: Netflix

The clip, shared to Facebook is captioned: “To the working moms in Hollywood: We see you. Keep leading like a mother, hustling like a mother, and showing everyone what a mother can do!”

Highlight’s of Fumero’s monologue celebrate women ‘laughing, fighting, working’ like a mother.

They also include some more concerning statements.


“The [mothers] who come back with stitches pads and backaches after giving birth and are asked, how did you enjoy your time off?”

And later: “So to all the mother just keep going like the mother you are... wake up before light ready for action, skipping bedtime even if it breaks you set up break down and do it all again like a mother.”

Despite the swelling music, many of those mothers the clip tries trying to celebrate couldn’t help but point out that the video seems to be celebrating some awful expectations placed on new mums.

Netflix parental leave under microscope
Netflix offers one year of paid parental leave, but only to full time employees. Photo: Getty Images

Netflix does in fact have a very progressive parental leave policy, offering full-time employees up to one year off.

They have, however, come under fire for only offering the plan to full-time salaried workers in an industry mainly composed of freelancer and casual staff who don’t have any entitlement to paid leave which many of the workers featured in the clip typically would be.

Mums slam ‘shameful’ values in video

Mum cries holding baby in Netflix Motherood campaign under fire for 'awful' message
Many argyed the clip was celebrating a damaging expectation placed on women. Photo: Netflix

Taking to the comments, many made their feeling known in no uncertain terms.

“I understand this is supposed to be a celebration of mother's work, but it's setting an impossible standard,” one woman pointed out.

“Women shouldn't have to juggle this hard to work AND raise small children simultaneously. Yes, mother's are incredible: fierce, capable, strong, and competent - but they should be also offered proper support, like decent maternity leave.”

Mum pumps breastmilk in car in Motherhood in Focus clip from Netflix
Many pointed out encouraging mums to keep up the exhausting work is a dangerous message. Photo: Netflix

“Shame on placing this kind of pressure on overworked mothers, to be able to successfully achieve and raise kids,” another wrote.

“Agreed!” one woman replied. “The "even if it breaks you" line was a bit on the nose.”

“Exactly,” was another statement of solidarity. “WE NEED HELP. Full stop. Stop expecting us to do it all!!!”

Others were less light-handed in their response.

Pregnant woman hold belly while operating boom mic on Netflix Motherhood in Focus series
Some called the clip 'awful' for encouraging mums to keeping going 'even if it breaks you'. Photo: Netflix

“This is awful,” one wrote. “Why are we celebrating women being given no space and time to heal, or be with their babies when they are new?”

“If working through stitches and bleeding works for you then great, and this definitely shows the undeniable and insane strength we possess as women, but please let’s not celebrate mothers having to work through their recovery.”

“The system is broken and shouldn’t be praised.”

Other liked the ad, which they pointed out was an attempt to at least acknowledge the women working double-time to do it all.

“Beautiful tribute to amazing women,” one woman described it.

“That’s awfully nice of you to say,” another wrote, though she added: “Doesn’t feel like it though when I have to be away from my kids to give them a good life.”

Parental leave in the United States

In the United States, where the ad was filmed, mothers are legally entitled only to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave under Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

The law only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.

In Australia, eligible workers receive 18 weeks' of paid parental leave from the government at the National Minimum Wage which is either paid directly or to the company to subsidise full-wage paid leave.

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