Netflix’s Controversial Documentary on Queen Cleopatra Sparks Outrage and Historical Dispute

Netflix’s documentary “African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” has sparked intense controversy and received the lowest ratings in history. 

Just four days after its release on Netflix, “African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” faced a barrage of negative reactions from viewers worldwide. 

On Rotten Tomatoes, the series garnered a mere 1% positive rating from audiences. Forbes reported that this is the lowest rating ever recorded in history. Even for controversial movies and shows, user ratings tend to be higher.

The primary cause of this negative rating stems from the controversy surrounding the portrayal of Queen Cleopatra’s skin color. Jada Pinkett Smith, the documentary’s executive producer, stirred the controversy by creating a black Cleopatra. However, there is a lack of reliable evidence to support Cleopatra’s African roots. History clearly documents her as being of Greek origin.

The outrage sparked not only among audiences but also among historians in Egypt and Greece. The distortion of Cleopatra’s true historical background in the documentary has drawn sharp criticism. Experts argue that presenting an inaccurate portrayal of such a significant historical figure undermines the integrity of the documentary and misleads the audience.


At the time of its release, “African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” received an 88% rating from critics and a 22% rating from audiences. However, within a short span of four days, the ratings dramatically plummeted. 

The critic rating dropped to 11%, and the audience rating reached an all-time low of 1%. Though the audience rating has slightly increased to 2%, it remains shockingly low for a production of this scale.

In response to the mounting controversy, director Tina Gharavi remained composed and even posed thought-provoking questions about the depiction of Queen Cleopatra. 

Gharavi questioned why a black Cleopatra would be so bothersome to many people, suggesting that the portrayal might actually resemble the real Cleopatra more than a white interpretation. However, her defense failed to quell the ongoing criticism.

Source: K14. 

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