Emily in Paris: Ukraine’s culture minister hits out at series over ‘insulting caricature’ of Kyiv character

Hit Netflix show has previously been accused of perpetuating negative stereotypes

Annabel Nugent
Monday 03 January 2022 12:37
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Emily in Paris - Official Trailer

Ukraine’s minister of culture has complained to Netflix over its hit show Emily in Paris.

Oleksandr Tkachenko has criticised the popular series due to its portrayal of a character from Kyiv.

The Netflix series, which returned for a second season in December, follows Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins), an American marketing executive who moves to Paris for a job opportunity.

In the fourth episode of the second series, the show introduces a Ukrainian character called Petra who shoplifts during a shopping trip with Emily.

Petra (played by Daria Panchenko) is also shown to have a bad fashion sense and a fear of being deported.

Tkachenko took to Telegram to air his grievances with the programme.

“In Emily in Paris, we have a caricature of a Ukrainian woman that is unacceptable. It is also insulting,” he wrote.

“Is this how Ukrainians will be seen abroad? Who steal, want to get everything for free, be afraid of deportation? This should not be so.”

Petra is played by Ukrainian actor Daria Panchenko

According to Ukrainian media, Tkachenko sent a letter of complaint to Netflix voicing his concerns.

Tkachenko said the streamer’s response to his complaint was “quite diplomatic”, according to The Mirror.

“We agreed that in 2022, we will be in close contact to prevent such cases,” he said.

This is not the first time that Emily in Paris has come under fire for its “stereotypical” representations.

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Although the show became one of the streamer’s biggest hits when its first season aired in 2020, Emily in Paris was widely panned by critics who accused the series of representing “the worst of American white girls abroad”.

It was also criticised by French media for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Parisians and French people in general.

The show’s creator Darren Star (previously Sex and the City) previously defended the first series, saying he was “not sorry for looking at Paris through a glamorous lens”.

You can read The Independent’s five-star review of the second series here.

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