Netflix's Queen Cleopatra is panned by critics

Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra is PANNED by viewers as it receives a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 1% – amid ‘blackwashing’ row

Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra has received a one per cent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, amid an ongoing ‘blackwashing’ row.

The documentary, which is part of the African Queens series, is an exploration of the rise and fall of the last pharaoh of Egypt and was released on May 10.

It discusses issues such as her relationships and heritage, which is a subject of debate, as well as her political work. 

The show has been subject to ‘blackwashing’ claims after a black actress was cast in the lead role, Adele James, 37, despite historical records showing she was Macedonian-Greek.  

After four days on Rotten Tomatoes, Queen Cleopatra has been given just a one per cent audience rating- reportedly the worst ever documented, according to Forbes. 

Slammed: Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra has been panned by the audience as it has received a 1 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score after four days on the site- amid a ‘blackwashing’ row

History: The documentary, which is a part of the African Queens series, is an exploration of the rise and fall of the last pharaoh of Egypt and was released on May 10

Controversy: In the show, Cleopatra is depicted as black, despite historical records showing she was of Macedonian Greek heritage

The publication said: ‘Fans usually rate things higher than critics, even bad shows, and the point being, a 1 per cent audience score seems borderline mathematically impossible, even with the controversy the film has attracted.’

Producer Jada Pinkett Smith said she wanted to tell the story of Cleopatra because ‘we don’t often get to see or hear stories about black queens.’

In the trailer, which was released in April, claims that Cleopatra was black with ‘curly hair.’ 

One historian asserts in the preview: ‘I remember my grandmother saying to me: I don’t care what they tell you in school, Cleopatra was black.’ 

An Egyptian lawyer has filed a case with the country’s public prosecutor demanding that Netflix be shut down.

Cairo’s former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass condemned the documentary as ‘completely fake.’

They said: ‘Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not black.’

Zahi said the only rulers of Egypt known to have been black were the Kushite kings of the 25th Dynasty (747-656 BC).

He said: ‘Netflix is trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is black.’

In April, Mahmoud al-Semary filed a complaint with the public prosecutor demanding that he take ‘the necessary legal measures’ to block access to Netflix.

He alleged the show featured content that violated Egypt’s media laws and accused Netflix of trying to ‘promote the Afrocentric thinking … which includes slogans and writings aimed at distorting and erasing the Egyptian identity.’

Cleopatra was famously played by white English actress Elizabeth Taylor opposite Richard Burton as Mark Anthony in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s historical epic from 1963.

Casting: Cleopatra was famously played by white English actress Elizabeth Taylor opposite Richard Burton as Mark Anthony in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s historical epic from 1963

Three years ago, plans for a new movie about the queen starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot sparked a backlash from people insisting the role should go to an Egyptian or African actress.

Gal defended the decision, saying: ‘We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.’ 

The two-minute official Trailer uploaded on April 12 sparked so much controversy that Netflix was forced to turn comments off.

Author Kemi Owonibi tweeted: ‘For the nth time, the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was not an Egyptian. 

‘She was Greek! Cleopatra VII was white—of Macedonian descent, likewise all the Ptolemy rulers, who lived in Egypt.’ 

Another added: ‘Netflix is – yet again – black washing a historically White character, this time it’s Queen Cleopatra that is transformed into a black woman despite that we know she was White — of Macedonian/Greek descent, so was all of the rulers of the Ptolemy dynasty.’ 

A third said: ‘Cleopatra was NOT Black, she was the GREEK Queen of Egypt and is a beautiful connection between Greek and Egyptian civilisations.’

Egyptian actress and singer Somaya Elkhashab tweeted: ‘Identifying Queen Cleopatra as black for fulfilling modern African American fantasies is pure theft of egyptian history and yet an attempt to rewrite history’s greats. 

‘Blackwashing a greek queen proves the obsession with white women and this wouldn’t help stopping racism at all.’

However another said: ‘Well, it seems Jada Pinkett Smith has folks all uptight because of her upcoming documentary on Netflix. It’s called #QueenCleopatra and it airs on May 10. 

‘The issue is, Cleopatra is shown as Black woman and some don’t like it. Personally, I can’t wait to see it!’

Cleopatra was the companion of Alexander The Great, renowned for her marriages and affairs with Marc Antony and Julius Caesar. 

Her first language was Greek although she was the only Ptolemaic ruler to use the Egyptian language. 

Actress Adele previously responded by telling people not to watch the show if they don’t like the casting.

She tweeted: ‘Just FYI, this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated on my account. You will be blocked without hesitation!!! If you don’t like the casting don’t watch the show. 

‘Or do & engage in (expert) opinion different to yours. Either way, I’M GASSED and will continue to be!’ 

The official synopsis reads: ‘From Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith comes a new documentary series exploring the lives of prominent and iconic African Queens. 

Starring role: Adele plays Cleopatra and previously warned people ‘not to watch’ the show if they don’t like the casting

Backlash: Twitter users responded furiously after watching the trailer, with one calling it ‘theft of Egyptian history’

‘This season will feature Cleopatra, the world’s most famous, powerful, and misunderstood woman — a daring queen whose beauty and romances came to overshadow her real asset: her intellect. 

‘Cleopatra’s heritage has been the subject of much academic debate, which has often been ignored by Hollywood. Now our series re-assesses this fascinating part of her story.’ 

It comes after the first instalment of the African Queens series was released in February about Njinga.

The show got an 88 per cent critics score alongside a 22 per cent audience score. 

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