Bob Ross is a cult figure in the art world. His soothing voice and soft touch made him an icon, but his company has been accused of sexual harassment and abuse. Netflix’s documentary Boycott Bob Ross Inc. sheds light on this issue and sparked a conversation about the future of the art world.
Netflix’s new film Boycott Bob Ross Inc. has caused quite the controversy. The film was released on May 26, 2019. It is a comedy about an artist who makes instructional videos for children, but he gets into trouble when his boss decides to sell them as streaming content.
Netflix provided this video. Bob Ross stands in front of one of his paintings.
Following the publication of a Netflix documentary about Bob Ross Inc., his namesake business that fell into the hands of Annette and Walt Kowalski after his death in 1995, the gentle and permed painter has created a posthumous sensation. Twitter retaliated by calling for a boycott until Ross’ son, Steve Ross, was granted intellectual property rights. On Thursday, August 26, 2021, a popular hashtag, #BoycottBobRossInc., was trending on Twitter, the day after the film was released.
BRI “takes great issue with the incorrect and highly biased depiction of our business in the Netflix film, Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed,” according to a statement published Wednesday, August 25.
Four partners founded Bob Ross Inc.: Bob Ross, his wife, Jane Ross, Annette Kowalski, and Walt Kowalski. According to the Daily Beast, Jane Ross died in 1992, leaving Bob Ross with just a third of the business. The business was passed down to the Kowalski family after his death in 1995. According to the Daily Beast, Ross stated in his will that his name, image, and intellectual property should belong to his half brother, Jimmie, and his kid. According to the report, when Steve Ross filed a lawsuit in 2017, a court ruled that Bob Ross could not transfer the business since he was just a half owner.
Here’s what you should be aware of:
The Kowalski Family Reacted to Specific Allegations in the Film, Calling Them “Unsubstantiated” and “Baseless.”
Bob’s creative and cultural significance would have been lost decades ago if not for the efforts of the surviving founders and their commitment to this goal. https://t.co/KuVRV9VTeP
August 25, 2021 — Bob Ross Official (@BobRossOfficial)
In reaction to the Netflix film, BRI issued a long statement claiming that the depiction of the business was incorrect and denying specific claims made in the film. According to the statement, their aim has always been to carry on Ross’ legacy in the manner he intended.
It said, among other things:
All of Bob Ross Inc.’s equal partners – Bob and Jane Ross, and Walt and Annette Kowalski – have had the same objective since the company’s inception in 1984: to promote and support the value of painting throughout the globe. This was the company’s goal from the beginning, through Bob Ross’ last years, and it continues to be the company’s driving purpose following Bob’s tragic death over 25 years ago.
Bob’s creative and cultural significance – and his stated goal to become the world’s most adored painting instructor and friend – would have been lost decades ago if not for the efforts of the surviving founders and their commitment to this purpose.
As accurately captured in the film, Bob’s presence, inspiring positive outlook on everyday things, and celebrated ability to provide serenity to audiences of all ages combine to create the phenomenon we see today, and are part of a business platform designed to nurture and amplify his gifts and turn them into the world’s treasure.
All of the goods and accessories on the market now are simply another method to spread Bob’s positive message to people all over the globe. Bob Ross Inc. hopes that products carrying Bob’s image and words bring smiles to people’s faces by reminding them of Bob’s passion of painting, which he shared with everyone. Bob was particularly interested in finding methods to share his charming personality and the pleasure he found in creating art with non-painters – especially children – via collectibles, toys, and knickknacks, and he was the company’s main creative force until his death.
The statement went on to claim that filmmakers approached them and requested them to be interviewed for the film, but that they were not made aware of any particular allegations. The filmmakers’ demands “arrived complete with a perplexing lack of openness,” according to the statement. The producers allegedly failed to inform BRI that the film would be released on Netflix, according to the complaint.
Bob Ross Inc. might have given important material and context in an effort to create a more fair and informed film if the filmmakers had spoken openly in their communication. However, since the director and producers continued with the production without consulting Bob Ross Inc., the final story lacks subtlety and truth, as well as an obvious bias in favor of individuals questioned. In May 2021, Bob Ross Inc. tried to contact the producers for comment after reading media rumors regarding the film’s summer release. They did not answer my calls or emails, and I had to contact them via their attorney to get a response. We gave a detailed statement, which the filmmakers decided not to utilize.
According to the statement, no effort was made to prohibit Steve Ross from speaking about his experiences.
“Bob Ross Inc. never pursued or threatened legal action against Steve Ross, and no one at Bob Ross Inc. heard from him for almost two decades, until 2017 when Steve filed suit against the business without any previous communication,” according to the statement.
According to the statement, Bob Ross may not have shared business information with anyone while he was alive, and some of the film’s claims were “rejected by a court of law in 2019.”
The statement came to this conclusion:
By placing a brush in the hands of more first-time painters than any other movement in history, Bob Ross Inc. contributes to a thriving, global art community. We welcome admirers who have no intention of painting but are drawn to Bob’s charming personality and kind, upbeat attitude. We are enthusiastic supporters of the public television system, which is a true American treasure; art-related education and charitable projects, such as those with the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Air Force First Sergeant Academy; and the new Bob Ross Experience museum in Muncie, Indiana. Bob Ross Inc. and our dozen workers have made it possible for Bob’s amazing achievements and passion of painting to flourish – and we are dedicated to continuing to build on his beautiful legacy far into the future.
Users on Twitter demanded a boycott of Bob Ross Inc. products, claiming that Steve Ross should be the company’s owner.
In the hours after the Netflix film’s release, Twitter users called for a boycott of Bob Ross Inc. goods, claiming that Steve Ross is the true owner of the company. The #BoycottBobRossInc hashtag became a hot topic on Twitter as a result of the outpouring of support.
“Boycotting their goods until Steve Ross AKA Bob Ross’s son gets benefit from Bob Ross Inc,” one Twitter user said.
Another individual commented, “I’m still thinking about Bob.” “All shops should cease selling bobrossinc merchandise!”
“Until I saw the Netflix documentary #BobRossHappyAccidentsBetrayalAndGreed, I was all thrilled and pleasant cloud feeling. Another user commented, “Now I want everyone to know how terrible the @BobRossOfficial business is.” “They’ve taken advantage of an icon and desecrated his legacy.”
“You need a little sorrow now and again to know when the wonderful times are coming. Now I’m looking forward to the good days.”
— bob ross, s23 ep 3 image from “The Joy of Painting” twitter.com/f04ZesBIgm
— August 22, 2021 (@hourlyislam)
“The Kowalskis should be ashamed!!! What they did to the Toss and Jenkins families!!!! We must all cease purchasing their goods!” Someone else wrote.
Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, told NPR that when they set out to produce the film, they didn’t expect to discover such a complicated tale. They decided to create the movie because they are such huge admirers of Bob Ross that they have a toaster that imprints his face on their bread, they told NPR. They discovered the narrative was much more complicated than they had expected when they began to piece it together.
McCarthy told NPR that “when someone is an artist, no matter what their medium is… there is a business behind it.” “And I’m willing to bet that business is usually a lot more complex than the personality who leads it.”
- bob ross episodes
- annette kowalski
- original bob ross painting