Michaela Coel explains why she turned down major Netflix deal

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Michaela Coel turned down a massive deal with Netflix (Picture: Gary Gershoff/WireImage )

Michaela Coel has explained the reason she turned down a million-dollar deal with Netflix, while also admitting she felt like ‘people found me disturbed’ for doing so.

The British actress, who wrote, created and starred in last years’ I May Destroy You, which explored sexual consent in a powerful and groundbreaking way, was offered two million dollars for the series by the streaming giant.

Ultimately, Coel decided to partner with the BBC and HBO to produce and distribute the drama which ended up winning two Baftas.

Discussing the decision to turn down such a huge payday on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, the actress explained how the Netflix partnership would not have allowed her to own the copyright of her work.

‘I don’t remember feeling like people found me difficult, I remember feeling like people found me disturbed,’ said Coel.

‘So it was almost like: “She’s a crazy woman” – that’s the other one, she’s either difficult or she’s crazy – to the point where I began to think I was crazy or unnecessarily paranoid.

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I May Destroy You (2020)

I May Destroy You won a Bafta for Best Miniseries and Best Actress (Picture: HBO)

‘At that stage, it’s hard to say to people: “Trust your gut and follow your instinct,” because it’s not a very useful sentence all the time,’ she continued.

‘But that is what I did in that situation and I’m very glad I did, because in the end, I wasn’t a crazy woman that was acting wild and disturbed and unhinged.

‘I was right to observe the industry and observe there was a lack of transparency because there was an exploitation occurring.

‘And if I didn’t press on despite being seen as crazy and paranoid and unhinged, I wouldn’t have got to that truth and I wouldn’t have ended up saying no to being exploited and I would not have had the space to say yes to employers who were not exploiting me, who were willing to collaborate with me and listen to me and treat me as an equal.

‘I had to say no to the former to make space for the latter.’

I May Destroy You

Paapa Essiedu and Weruche Opia received BAFTA nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively (Picture: HBO)

Coel went on to admit that it was ‘a cool situation’ being in the position to turn down millions from Netflix, ‘and it’s even cooler if you realise that you don’t need a million dollars.’

Speaking about her living situation, the star said: ‘I was living at that time in a house share with lovely Ash, my housemate, and I had enough food to eat.

‘I did not need a million dollars, which means I can make the decision whether I take that or not.’

‘What is behind that million dollars? When you can say no to a million dollars because you realise you do have enough, even if it’s not lots, that is awesome.’

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Netflix for comment.

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