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‘Bonding’ Creator Responds to Dominatrix Criticism of His BDSM-Centric Netflix Show

"I am very much listening to what the community has to say. The discourse...is important and I receive it fully," said the actor and writer Rightor Doyle.

Rightor Doyle'Barry' TV show premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Mar 2018

Rightor Doyle, who appeared on “You’re the Worst,” portrays Nick on “Barry.”

Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Bonding” creator Rightor Doyle has responded to criticism that his new BDSM-centric Netflix comedy misrepresents and stigmatizes the dominatrix community. The series follows a young gay man who takes a job assisting a dominatrix while pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian. “Bonding,” which premiered in full on Netflix on April 24, is based on similar experiences Doyle had in his youth as a struggling actor and comedian. (Doyle currently stars on HBO’s “Barry.”) He recently responded to the criticism from dominatrixes and those in the BDSM community, originally reported on this site.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, Doyle said he was listening and promised to seek out consultants from the community if given a second season:

I am very much listening to what the community has to say. The discourse happening on Twitter is important and I receive it fully. I am glad that these many differing opinions are being heard in an impactful way. They have certainly impacted me. Though it is based on a small chapter in my life and I did consult people in the community prior to filming, if given the opportunity to make more, I would be thrilled to invite a wide array of people into the conversation to deepen and enrich our knowledge of the world. The reach of Netflix is vast and hopefully “Bonding,” with its bright colors and comedic flourishes, helps change certain preconceived notions of this line of work. Tiff and Pete are not perfect, and I am certainly not perfect. But we can all learn and grow together.

Much of the criticism stems from the fact that “Bonding” is told from the perspective of the gay male character, rather than the female dominatrix. Aside from centering a male perspective of a highly stigmatized field of work primarily performed by women, many felt the Tiff character was unrealistic.

“None of it felt real to me. It wasn’t a real story of a complex, beautiful sex worker who has a real story of abuse at work. That just didn’t feel right to me at all, having been there myself,” said Jessica Nicole Smith, a dominatrix living and working in Montreal. Mistress Synful Pleasure wrote that the show “cast[s] a bad shadow and stigma on professional domination. The inaccuracies feed the stigma of bdsm & it doesn’t really show what the life of a dominatrix is like at all.”

“Bonding” has yet to be picked up for a second season by Netflix.

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