- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2016

Based on how they’re portrayed by Netflix, one would think all U.S. combat veterans are “bloodthirsty, heartless killers and sexists.”

That’s according to Tahlia Y. Burton, an Air Force veteran who took the streaming service to task for portraying veterans as villainous jail guards on the hit show “Orange is the New Black.”

Writing at Task & Purpose, Ms. Burton said anti-veteran sentiment is palpable in the show’s most recent season.

“For a show that prides itself on realism and its ability to encourage empathy from its viewers, ‘Orange is the New Black’ had no problem using veterans as an embodiment of violent, sexist, inhumane behavior,” Ms. Burton writes.

In one scene, the warden of a for-profit prison suggests hiring veterans as guards in order to take advantage of tax breaks. But an employee shoots that proposal down, making a gun with his fingers and pretending to kill his co-workers.

“We looked into using veterans in the past in our office, but, you know veterans…” the character says.

Once they’re hired, the veterans are portrayed as unspeakably cruel characters — routinely making racist remarks and sexually assaulting inmates at the all-women’s prison, Ms. Burton writes.

The audience is constantly reminded that the guards are veterans, such as when they recall war stories from their service overseas, she writes, citing one scene in which a guard recounts forcing a child in Afghanistan to juggle grenades.

“And then you shoot him, because you don’t want him to grow up without arms or tell on you,” the guard says. “Or maybe you just strangle a girl that you had sex with in a small village because her family is going to kill her anyway, right?”

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States has demanded an apology from Netflix.

“America has tens of thousands of troops currently deployed into harm’s way, and millions of others who have successfully transitioned back into society, but the writers and producers chose instead to offend them all just to fit a storyline that needed new villains,” said John A. Biedrzycki Jr., commander in chief of VFW.

A spokesperson from Netflix could not be immediately reached for comment.


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