Emperial Young, a writer and fan of Netflix's recently canceled series The OA, is on a hunger strike outside of the streaming giant’s campus in Hollywood, California to protest “the capitalist forces that killed the show.” Netflix announced on Aug. 5 that the Brit Marling-led sci-fi series would not be returning for a third season, prompting criticism from fans, who have since rallied in support of the series.
Young, who is currently unemployed, began her hunger strike earlier this month and is now on day 13 without food, claiming that she hasn’t eaten since Aug. 16 — something she intends to continue until The OA is picked up.
“While it looks like I'm protesting a TV cancellation on the surface, I am protesting the capitalist forces that killed the show, general lack of societal support resources, and to raise awareness about properly teaching AI. The cancellation is a lens for these topics,” she wrote on Twitter. “Which doesn't mean I'm not trying to save the show. I definitely, definitely am! But that's not all I'm doing.”
Young also listed out the “five movements” to her protest, referencing the movements in the series that allow Prairie to travel to other dimension: “PART I - THE OBLIGATORY ABSURDITY,” “PART II - THE OVERARCHING ANIMUS,” “PART III - THE OVERT ANALOGY,” “PART IV - THE OUTSIDER'S ANGUISH,” and “PART V - THE OTHER ANSWER.”
Young’s protest has even drawn the attention of Marling, who not only stars in the series, but is also it’s creator and showrunner alongside showrunner Zal Batmanglij. In a lengthy post on Twitter, Marling said that she and Batmanglij had “pulled over to offer a bottle of water and food” to Young.
“As we were leaving she said, ‘You know, what I’m really protesting is late capitalism.’ And then she said something that I haven’t been able to forget since,” she wrote. “Algorithms aren’t as smart as we are. They cannot account for love.’ Her words. Not mine. And the story keeps going inside them.”
In the wake of the cancellation, for which Netflix did not give a reason, the outcry has been loud and swift. In addition to creating a petition urging Netflix or another streaming service or network to pick the series up (it has gained nearly 80,000 signatures), fans have also raised more than $5,000 for billboards to be put up in Times Square.
Both seasons of The OA, which was planned to have a five-season arc, are available for streaming on Netflix.