Netflix Threatened by Brexit Backer Over 'The Great Hack' Doc

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Arron Banks

The film explores the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has been linked to the pro-Brexit Leave campaign.

Arron Banks, the British billionaire backer of the pro-Brexit campaign Leave.EU, has issued a legal threat to Netflix over its upcoming documentary The Great Hack. 

The film, from Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, the duo behind 2013's The Square (which earned Netflix its first ever Academy Award nomination), explores the Cambridge Analytica scandal that erupted in early 2018 and exposed how millions of people's personal data had been harvested from Facebook without their consent. Journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who had been central to the investigation and is interviewed in the film, had earlier detailed how the data had been successfully used by pro-Brexit campaigners in targeted marketing prior to the referendum in 2016. 

According to The Observer newspaper, London law firm Kingsley Napley — acting on behalf of Banks, his company Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU — issued a letter to Netflix dated July 16 claiming that their clients were concerned over "false and defamatory allegations" made about their clients by Cadwalladr and others in The Great Hack. It also reportedly demanded to be given a right to see any allegations made in the film and be given a chance to respond, warning Netflix that they would rely on any failure to meet their demands in any future legal proceedings. 

The Observer also asserted that Banks instructed his lawyers before having seen The Great Hack, which Netflix is releasing July 24.

“We have received a letter from Arron Banks’s solicitors, which we have responded to, making clear that we stand by the contents of the film and will vigorously defend against any claim," said co-director Amer to the paper. "We find it ridiculous that Arron Banks and his solicitors would issue such a letter without having seen the actual film. We would invite Mr. Banks to watch the film when it premieres worldwide on Netflix on 24 July."

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Netflix for comment.