Netflix's new Bob Ross documentary has fans up in arms and taking to social media to share their frustration. The film is called Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed, and it recounts Ross' life story, focusing heavily on his career as an artist and TV painting teacher. The filmmakers speak with Ross' son, Steve Ross, as well as Bob's good friend and fellow artist Dana Jester, both of whom had quite a lot to say about Ross' business partners, Annette and Walt Kowalski.
Following Ross' death, the Kowalskis became the sole shareholders of Bob Ross Inc. Ross' relationship with the couple had reportedly become volatile in the months before his passing, leading the iconic painter to write them completely out of his last will and testament. They filed a lawsuit against Steve and Ross' half-brother, Jimmie Cox, who were the executors of Ross' estate. Arguing that Ross had been a "work for hire" artist throughout his life, the Kowalskis won their case.
Their daughter, Joan Kowalski, took over Bob Ross Inc. more than a decade ago, and at one point negotiated a deal between Steve and Jimmie for the rights Ross's name and likeness. The men agreed to the deal, which guaranteed that Steve could resume public painting under his own name, without fear or threat of a lawsuit from Bob Ross Inc. All this information shared in the new Netflix documentary has had Ross fans fuming. Scroll down to see what they are saying on social media.
Watching the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix and I already want to fight. pic.twitter.com/lRTLHES4nF— 🌸 I just want to chill and make art 🌸 (@kalapotatoart) August 25, 2021
"Wow! Watched it and I would recommend everyone boycott [Bob Ross Inc]!!!" a fan tweeted, to which another replied, "Yes boycott them ASAP!!"prevnext
Me in my room after watching the Bob Ross doc on Netflix plotting my revenge against the Kawolskis pic.twitter.com/OIIzg6S5CC— abby (@Salty_seagoll) August 26, 2021
"BOYCOTT BOB ROSS INC. /BRI ASAP!!! NONE OF HIS FAMILY ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ARTIST company that is using his name," someone else exclaimed.prevnext
Bob Ross fans after finding out about what the Kowalskis did. pic.twitter.com/VtF8j2pNLF— Semisan (@Semisan9) August 26, 2021
The title is important, and the movie is important. Bob was an extraordinary man, but the business behind his star was corrupt.
Watch it as a cautionary tale for who you trust with your intentions.— Mac Lethal (@MacLethal) August 26, 2021
"THEY still have EVERY one of Bob Ross's paintings! Hoarding them like TP during a pandemic!" a frustrated Ross fan commented. "Bob made 3 versions of each painting. The 1st was made before the show to be used for reference. The 2nd was made during taping & the 3rd was made afterward for the instructional books."prevnext
The Bob Ross Netflix special made my heart sing and then cry and then vomit and I am aiming directly for the kowalskis how dare u pic.twitter.com/RqXR9JMG7T— tasha⁷ (@peachtaesty) August 25, 2021
"I was afraid Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Greed, & Betrayal, was going to be a Joy of Painting version of Mommy Dearest. Quite the opposite," a fan offered. "Bob was everything I had hoped, & no one should ever buy Bob Ross, Inc products & allow the thieves who stole his name to profit."prevnext
"Okay so please boycott Bob Ross INC and don't buy any Bob Ross merch because his son Steve doesn't see any of that money whatsoever and his name is being exploited against Bob's wishes before his death. Just watched the new documentary on Netflix & I'm pissed," an angry Netflix watcher wrote.prevnext
Just watched the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix.
They did that man and his family wrong and they damn well know it or they wouldn't be threatening to sue anyone who talks about it. pic.twitter.com/C82SNU5ZBl— Mimccub (@Mimccub) August 26, 2021
"I always wondered what happened to Steve Ross, Bob Ross' (The Joy of Painting) son. Now I know, and the story is heartbreaking," someone shared. "Watch [Netflix's] Bob Ross documentary, then you'll understand why it's important to never buy licensed Bob Ross products, again."prevnext
"It made me so mad that my face turned alizarin crimson," one last fan tweeted.prev