Byron Bay’s most sought-after local business have been knocking back approaches to be featured in a salacious Netflix reality series about Instagram influencers, as a petition to block its production nears 4000 signatures.
Last week, streaming giant Netflix announced it had teamed up with Eureka productions to create a reality series Byron Baes, that would explore “fights, flings and heartbreak” among social media influencers who are based in the idyllic town on the NSW far north coast.
The series had brought on Emma Lamb, a highly accomplished reality producer who has previously worked on Married At First Sight and The Real Housewives Of Sydney.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop (for the ’gram).
“And there’s no better backdrop – or magnet for influencers – than Byron Bay, the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original,” ANZ stated in a release about the show.
It’s a red-hot concept that would likely draw huge ratings.
But the show’s premise has gone down in flames with Byron Bay locals, with a petition titled “Boycott Byron Baes Netflix Series by Refusing to Grant Filming Permits” reaching 3900 signatures on Thursday.
The petition’s creator, Tess Hall, said the concept would grossly misrepresent Byron Bay and its values.
“We don’t want to be an Instagrammers’ paradise,” Ms Hall told NCA NewsWire.
“When it comes to Byron Bay, what we have seen about the show would shine a light on the town which doesn’t reflect our values and who we are as a community.
“The fallout for Byron Bay is we become even more renowned as a hotspot for influencers; people who have a massive following who come to these hot spots and create a desire for their followers to visit.
“But that traffic has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts without any real valuable or meaningful injection to the region.”
The petition states Byron Bay “is a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents.”
It aims for “relevant statutory authorities to refuse to grant the production filming permits for any and all local and state government land, roads, parks, and waterways proposed for use during filming of the series. “
It is understood Byron Bay’s top five most popular local businesses on Instagram have steadfastly declined approaches to be featured in the series – despite the potential for considerable surges in trade due to the Netflix exposure.
“Being members of the community, their gut reaction is this show isn‘t the tone and approach they want,” Ms Hall said.
“These business could gain by being included in the series but are vocally and actively choosing not to.”
Rumoured cast members include model and influencer Jess Vander Leahy and Love Island contestant Elias Chigros.
Ms Hall, a filmmaker herself, welcomed Byron Bay and the far north coast becoming a TV and film production destination, but in the right context.
“I’m a filmmaker; I’m all for the Northern Rivers and broader region becoming a production hub,” she said.
“Anything that brings large scale production and jobs to the region is great
“But ‘brand Byron’ has become so big and has been exploited. When I saw the series idea, I decided enough is enough.”