When Netflix first rebooted Queer Eye as an original series, I binged the first season in record time, reveling in the joy of the Fab 5. Their easy kindness, even in the face of surprisingly difficult conversations, was a welcome respite from the toxic masculinity that plagued headlines in 2018. Fortunately for me and the other fans, the second season (which was filmed at the same time as the first) 44

One of the first things I noticed about the second season was that the Netflix original newly introduced a bleeping sound to censor profanity spoken on the show. The next thing I noticed was that the censoring carried over to the closed captions, but not in the normal way.

Instead of bleeping out certain words, Netflix seemed to replace those words with more generally accepted ones.

Normally, closed caption subtitling bleeps words in a variety of different ways: phrases, such as (bleep), [expletive], or [censored] may be used, although sometimes hyphens or asterisks are marked instead (f-k, f ---, or f *** are all examples.

The second season of Queer Eye eschews all of all traditional options and instead opts to change the profanity in the closed captions completely: s - becomes "crap," all versions of the F-word devolve to "frigging." You get the idea.

I started using closed captions when watching television and movies a few years ago, after surgery to repair my dislocated jaw caused nerve damage and hearing loss on my right side.

Closed captions or subtitles. help me. I'm not alone. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 15 percent of American adults. And, according to estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 6 percent of the world's population (466 million people) have "disabling hearing loss." Those numbers solidify the need for captions for d / Deaf or hard of hearing (HOH) viewers, but hearing loss is not the only reason why captions are important to the viewing experience.

In fact, many other people use captions, including those who speak English as a second language and those who have sensory processing disorders. A 2006 study by the Office of Communications, the regulatory body for U.K. television broadcasting, suggests that 80 percent of television viewers using closed captions were used for reasons other than hearing loss.

Even Netflix acknowledges on its website that captions (which they call "Timed text files") are "paramount ... for the consumption of media in a world without the living room as the primary center of entertainment." Subtitles mean you can even watch TV in a loud room or without headphones, regardless of whether you're a hearing person or not.

I found the experience of edited captions to be jarring and distracting: I was knocked out of every time the words on the screen my television reverie.

The more closely I paid attention, the more I realized the captions were changed far beyond simply swapping out family-friendly words for curse words; I noticed chunks of dialogue had been edited, sometimes in ways that altered the meaning or intention of the sentence. The first episode of the second season, "God Bless Gay," was light on profanity, but I caught minor edits: Bobby would say, “In the beginning, I was honestly really apprehensive about this renovation…” but the captions would show, “In the beginning, I was apprehensive about this renovation.” In that same episode, Antoni tries a bite of egg salad and joyfully pronounces, “That’s freaking delicious!” but it becomes a bland, “That’s delicious” in the captions.

Finally, two minutes into the second episode, "A Decent Proposal," Tan’s exclamation that the straight guy of the episode “Shit or get off the pot!” when it comes to proposing to his girlfriend is edited to, “Crap or get off the pot.” These are just a few examples of the changes I noticed for profanity and general sentence structure.

When I took to Twitter to complain, many of my friends chimed in. My friend Jennifer Brown replied, “As a Deaf person who watched #QueerEye2 on Netflix recently, I didn’t catch that. Like… at all. :(“

Jennifer could tell that the captions were not lining up with the speakers' words ( words in place of the profanity. The captions Netflix provided to her were not the "accurate and natural translations" they had promised in their standards. the television show was the fundamentally altered, without her consent and in the most patronizing manner, as if she were a child instead of an adult.

My tweet picked up by steam and was noticed by Karamo Brown, the culture host of Queer Eye.

Brown has got out before on the supporting disabled people within our culture; in April, he committed to captioning his videos on social media for d / Deaf and HOH friends. he retweeted my tweet, he promised he would bring up the caption issue internally the next time he was at Netflix. "Deaf and HOH people should have the same experience as everyone else!" he declared. Nondisabled allies like Brown.

Netflix responded on Twitter the next day, thanking him for bringing the issue to their attention and promising to fix the Fab 5's empty. They acknowledged that they do sometimes bleep incidental profanity from their unscripted series .

Netflix invests heavily in sustaining our entertainment is accessible to all audiences and has captioning / subtitling across all content, "a Netflix spokesperson told SELF. "Netflix has requirements for closed captioning to ensure as much of the original content is included as possible. Truncating the original is an issue that is limited to instances where reading speed and synchronicity with the audio are an issue. "

The spokesperson continued, “We love getting feedback so we can correct these types of issues, so thanks again for raising it. Note that viewers can also provide feedback directly to us via a tool in the player if you're watching on a web browser.”

Inaccurate captions (even just swear words) are an insidious sign of inaccessibility, which is a type of abilityism, or discrimination against disabled people.

A lack of access means disabled people can not participate in the world the same way nondisabled people do. A lack of access is a sign of inequality. Ableism might mean broken captions when someone is trying to watch Netflix. It might mean that the students were not at all comfortable with their dogs.83

Ableism and inaccessibility are systemic issues that disabled people grapple with on a daily basis. Many nondisabled people remain unaware of our struggles against an inaccessible society. After all, when the world is made for you to easily move through and function within, why would you have any reason to notice that others are excluded when trying to participate? It might seem like a small thing to a nondisabled person, but if a company as big and far-reaching as Netflix can’t get something as simple as accurate captions right, it’s worth wondering what else is slipping through the cracks when it comes to accessibility.

Netflix took a good first step towards addressing the caption issues as soon as possible in the second season of the month 86 Queer Eye, but that doesn’t mean their work is done. Their platform is riddled with caption and transcription errors. While trying to watch Aggretsuko, I noticed that the captions weren’t anything close to what was being said on screen. “Best of luck with the shoe thing!” said a character’s voice at one point, but the captions read “Let’s talk again sometime.” And in "Hear No Evil," an episode in Netflix’s Forensic Files collection, captions are placed over captions that already exist in the video footage of an interrogation, both of them illegible.

A Twitter thread by Vilissa Thompson, a social worker and activist who founded the organization and blog Ramp Your Voice!, pointed me towards caption discrepancies in the newest season of Luke Cage, released on June 22. Bushmaster, the primary villain, speaks in Jamaican Patois-a dialect that is determined to clean up and clarify. As soon as the second episode, Bushmaster's "Just tell him to test me no", "becomes" Just tell him not to test me, "in the captions-and the edits continue throughout the season. Thompson also noted that some of the lyrics were not in the captions, either.

“As someone who is HOH, I rely on captions to fill in the dialogue I may not hear (particularly if a character is speaking in a low tone or whisper),” Thompson explained. “Having the dialogue altered took away the experience for me, and really made me question the use of proper English in place of the Jamaican Patois. The lack of effort in keeping the dialect in the captioning throughout the series [disappointed me]. It's really disheartening when accessibility is treated as an afterthought, particularly when it's so easy to get it correct.”

A Netflix spokesperson told SELF they would" pass [these issues] along to the team to make sure they get checked and fixed as appropriate. "

Netflix is ​​not alone in these captioning issues. Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and almost every other video streaming platform that exists is plagued with similar issues, rendering a huge chunk of the internet inaccessible to millions of us. We deserve an experience equal to the one our nondisabled friends have, and we will not stop fighting until that's what we [f --- ing] get.

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