On the day of the film’s premiere, BRI issued a statement saying it “takes strong issue with the inaccurate and heavily slanted portrayal of our company in the Netflix film.”
Directed by Joshua Rofé, Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed tells the story of Ross’ career, delving into how his relationship with Bob Ross Inc. co-creators Annette and Walt Kowalski helped him find widespread success. But after his death, the documentary shifts into detailing the legal battle between Ross’ son Steve and the Kowalskis. It ultimately suggests that the latter seized control of his legacy from Steve, as well as Ross’ late wife Jane Ross and brother Jim Ross.
In its statement, BRI. added that although the documentary’s portrayal of Ross’ “inspiring positive outlook” was accurate, the filmmakers didn’t give them an adequate opportunity to respond to allegations made in the documentary.
“While the producers of the Netflix film did contact Bob Ross Inc. twice, in late August and October 2020, each request arrived replete with a confounding lack of transparency,” BRI continued. “At no time did they pose specific questions to Bob Ross Inc. or ask for any form of rebuttal to specific assertions they had decided to include in the film.”
“Had the filmmakers communicated with openness in their correspondence, Bob Ross Inc. could have provided valuable information and context in an attempt to achieve a more balanced and informed film,” the company continued. “However, as the director and producers carried on with the production without the perspective of Bob Ross Inc., the final narrative lacks considerable nuance and accuracy and carries a clear bias in favor of those who were interviewed.”
“We like Bob Ross and we still do,” Falcone said. “We were surprised to uncover some of the things we uncovered. And I think the filmmakers, [director] Josh [Rofé] and [producer] Steven [Berger], really did a nice job of making a kind of a complicated, balanced movie out of a character that is complicated. We found out things about him that we didn’t expect. Nobody’s perfect.”
Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed is now streaming on Netflix.
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