Netflix Cancels Two Shows After Controversy

'The Umbrella Academy' creator and showrunner Steve Blackman was accused of creating a "toxic" and "hostile" work environment.

Following controversy surrounding The Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman, Netflix has canceled two upcoming series. Rolling Stone reported last month that Blackman was accused of "toxic, bullying, manipulative and retaliatory behavior," with 12 staffers calling him out along with an HR complaint against him. While he denied the "completely absurd" and "entirely untrue" claims, Netflix is taking precautions.

According to Rolling Stone senior reporter Cheyenne Roundtree, two of Blackman's projects are no longer moving forward at Netflix. He was originally working on a Horizon Zero Dawn series based on the popular video game and an original series, Orbital. However, a representative for Blackman shared that he still "has a long, ongoing, and close working relationship with Netflix" and is continuing to "work on new projects." He signed a deal in 2020 with the streaming giant that was reportedly worth $50 million.

One Umbrella Academy writer recalled to the outlet how they were warned to not take the job, while a female writing team was fired, with Blackman allegedly feeling "ripped off" due to not knowing one woman was pregnant when she was hired. The list of allegations goes on, as the sources and HR complaint state that he was "pitting staffers against one another; creating an environment of fear and distrust; taking credit for other people's work; and allegedly making lewd remarks that sources say they found to be sexist, homophobic, and transphobic."

It's unclear if anything will change with Steve Blackman's deal with Netflix, but the cancellations of two of his shows can't be coincidental. It's possible the streamer could still be doing some investigating following the claims. At this point, it's hard to really tell how his relationship with the streamer is and if anything has dwindled between them during the controversy. He was cleared by Universal Content Productions, Umbrella Academy's producing studio, in 2023, but it's likely the investigation has now reopened with more details coming to light.

The controversy also comes just over a month before the fourth and final season of The Umbrella Academy premieres on Netflix. It was announced in 2022 that the sci-fi drama was renewed for Season 4, which would also be the final season. Expected to return to close out the series are Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Adam Rodley, Colm Feore, and Ritu Arya. Season 4 drops on Aug. 8.