If you or somebody you know is having financial difficulties that are making it difficult to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic then you (or somebody you know) are definitely not alone, and one would think there's a swell of sympathy for that plight. Maybe not from landlords, but from a lot of people in similar spots, or simply from people that understand being strapped for cash really sucks.
That being said, if you or somebody you know would try to use the coronavirus' spread as an excuse to get something like, say, free Netflix, then that's unlikely to be a cause that tugs on as many heartstrings. It's like 12 bucks a month. And they're also very chill about password sharing.
Regardless of the fact that streaming services are extremely economical in comparison to
other forms of entertainment pretty much anything, a Change.org petition is trying to solicit signatures for the purpose of making these services free for 60 days so people will be encouraged to remain indoors.
The petition has a goal of 75,000. At the moment I write this the amount of signatures acquired is around 51,000, but like all these articles it'll be higher if you decide to check, on account of time being a straight line and all.
The petition, penned by Philip Kolas over three weeks ago, says in full:
During a worldwide viral pandemic, social distancing and personal quarantine is vitally important to stem the risk of spreading disease. As a result, right now millions of people worldwide are keeping themselves at home in order to prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus.
While this is a heroic and necessary challenge, it also runs the risk of boredom and isolation, which can lead to depression, among other factors. Many people are turning to their streaming services to alleviate their monotony. The problem with this is that many people cannot afford these membership fees, especially in a time like now when many people's economic livelihood is already strained.
Therefore, this petition asks that all worldwide streaming services inact [sic] a temporary 60 day stoppage of membership charges, as well as per-movie rental fees.
If people can watch as much as they want, whenever they want, this will help alleviate the stress of home isolation, as well as encourage people to stay home. This is a responsible community health strategy.
Many other media markets have done similar ideas. This is an easily manageable path of assistance for these corporations, one specifically which only they can provide.
I call upon every one of these companies that can help make an involuntary homestay more comfortable and therefore more successful to do their part to lift our sorrows and stresses of the quarantine.
While it's good general advice for just about everything on the internet, one would advise not going too hard in on the petition's creator. Anyone can draft these things, it's not up to them if they're highlighted by media outlets, and it's not up to them if their motives are interpreted cynically.
That said, Entertainment Weekly reports that "Netflix and representatives for the other streamers had no immediate comment," which seems like the right way to go here.