Ukrainian Culture Minister Calls Out Netflix's 'Emily In Paris' For 'Offensive' Portrayal Of Ukrainian Character

The people of Ukraine also seem to be outraged at the portrayal of the Kyiv-native, Petra in the second season of the show.

Source: IMDb

Emily in Paris has been criticized for a lot of things. In the first season, it received a lot of flak for its portrayal of the French, stereotyping them in the worst possible way. The show had high ratings because people decided to hate-watch it. And just like that, it got renewed for another season. Despite the criticism it got, not much seems to have changed in the second season since this time the matter of stereotyping a foreigner has escalated to the next level.

Source: IMDb

In the second season, we meet Petra played by actor Daria Panchenko, a Ukrainian woman in Emily's French class. She is portrayed as an uneducated, caricature-like Ukrainian woman, who is also a thief with a bad sense of fashion. Petra's character has created a stir as Ukraine’s culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko has issued a complaint to Netflix over the offensive and stereotypical image of the Ukrainian woman. He has called it "unacceptable" and Ukrainians seem to second this sentiment. The people of Ukraine are outraged at the portrayal of the Kyiv-native, Petra.


"In the 1990s and 2000s, Ukrainian guys were portrayed mainly as gangsters. Over time this has changed. However, not in this case," Tkachenko wrote as per The Mirror. "In Emily in Paris, we have a caricature of a Ukrainian woman which is unacceptable. It is also offensive. Is this how Ukrainians will be seen abroad? Who steal, want to get everything for free, be afraid of deportation? This should not be so." Ukrainian influencer Eugenie Hawrylko agreed with the minister and questioned if there is "still a place for such ignorance and intolerance" in the 21st century.

Emily In Paris Season 2

Further, researcher Olga Matveieva has also called out the show on the matter. "Nationality-based stereotyping not only provokes disbalance but maintains aggression. Let’s make peace, not offensive jokes," she said stating that it "marginalizes the image of an average Ukrainian woman." But not everyone agrees with this view. "So in a TV series, negative characters can be anything but Ukrainian? Obviously, we all would like her to be from Moscow, but you don't always get what you want," stated Ukrainian film producer Natalka Yakymovych as per the BBC


But this is not the only character that has been stereotyped by the show over the course of two seasons. French critic Charles Martin had said, as per The Guardian, "Frankly, watching Emily in Paris there’s plenty to feel insulted about. When they decided to caricature us, the authors didn’t hold back … no cliche is spared, not even the weakest." 

Before the second season premiered, Lily Collins, who plays the titular character had even assured to right the wrongs from the first season as the face of the problematic show and the producer as well. She had said they would try to make the show "more inclusive and diverse." But in terms of stereotypical portrayal, the second season seems to have outdone the first one.