Warning: Several of the articles mentioned below include the controversial scene. We decided not to link to it here. Viewer discretion is advised.
Netflix’s new documentary “Our Planet” has a specific scene in its second episode, called “Frozen Worlds,” that shows walruses climbing onto a steep, rocky beach in Russia. The documentary crew watch as the walruses fall off the cliff to their deaths.
Viewers complained on social media that the documentary’s scene is too disturbing to keep.
- “Literally full on sobbed to the walrus moment. This whole docu series is so heart breaking. #OurPlanet I wish as humans we can do more,” one viewer tweeted.
But Netflix stands behind the scene, saying that it’s an important scene to watch to understand the theme of the documentary that climate change is impacting animals’ lives.
Netflix released a new behind-the-scenes clip that features camera crew members Jamie McPherson and Sophie Lanfear reacting to the scene.
- “It’s really hard to watch and witness this,” Lanfear says in the clip. “It’s just so heartbreaking.”
Bigger picture: Lanfear explained the scene in an interview with The Atlantic. The cameras were filming the animals from far away. So far, in fact, that the animals couldn’t hear their sounds or smell the camera crew.8 comments on this story
- According to The Atlantic, Pacific walruses will “forage for shellfish in the waters between Alaska and Russia, before hauling up onto sea ice to rest and raise their young. But in recent years, Arctic sea ice has been thinner and sparser,” which has made it harder for walruses to find those spaces for their young.
- “This is the sad reality of climate change,” Lanfear said. “They’d be on the ice if they could.”
- “We do believe that haul-outs have increased in size due to the loss of sea ice — in part, due to females and their calves moving to land during summer,” Nicole Misarti from the University of Alaska Fairbanks told The Atlantic.