Trainwreck: Woodstock 99: Why people are criticizing Netflix’s controversial documentary
TW: This article contains discussions of rape and sexual assault.
If you have a Netflix account, you’ve probably watched — or at least heard of — Rail Crash: Woodstock 99aka the latest outrageous documentary on the streaming site, which charts the downfall of one of the most disastrous festivals of all time.
As Rail Crash: Woodstock 99which is divided into three episodes, shows that the event organizers failed to take into account the basic safety and sanitation of festival-goers, ultimately resulting in the festival infrastructure being set on fire and – as it appeared later – to women groped, sexually assaulted and raped.
In the weeks following the festival, multiple rape allegations came to light. The Washington Post reported that a festival volunteer named David Schneider witnessed assaults on at least five women.
Although the Netflix documentary mentions the assaults, many viewers pointed out that the topic was not handled with an appropriate level of sensitivity and respect.
Addressing the incidents of rape and sexual assault, event promoter John Scher appeared to blame the women who had been assaulted by insinuating that it was their fault for taking their tops off:
“There were a lot of women who voluntarily took off their tops. Then you walk into a mosh pit and you’re crowd surfing. Could someone have touched their breasts? Yes, I’m sure they did. What could I have done? I’m not sure I could have done anything.
He then appeared to rationalize the rape incidents by saying, “Woodstock was like a small town, you know? All things considered, I’d say there would probably be as many or more rapes in any size city…but it wasn’t something that had grown big enough to cause problems there, other than , of course , the women it happened to.
Naturally, viewers were quick to denounce this derogatory attitude, with a Tweeter“watched the whole Netflix Woodstock 99 doc and I have to say the most despicable part of it all was the organizer John Scher downplaying the literal rape by saying ‘well there were 250,000 people there and I bet that it was less rapes than in a town with that size of population “like wtf.”