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Netflix-funded banner sparks row at Marseille game


Plans for a group of Marseille supporters to unfurl a giant banner at Sunday's French league game at home to Bordeaux were scrapped after rival fans objected to Netflix financing its production.

The global streaming service giant reportedly stumped up between 20,000 and 30,000 euros ($25,000-$37,000) to cover the costs while seeking to promote the second season of its "Marseille" television series.

"It's ruined, this tifo," Michel Tonini, leader of the fan group that commissioned the banner, told AFP. "It's ridiculous. At the end of the day it's created the opposite effect when we just wanted to liven up the stadium."

He added: "We prepared it ourselves, there's nothing to do with Netflix in it. They're just happy to have a tifo the day of their promotion."

But other fan groups were strongly opposed to the collaboration, with the head of another supporters' club notably unhappy with the way Marseille is portrayed in the series.

"I don't like it at all, it's already a crap series that sinks Marseille more than it shows it off," said Christian Cataldo.
"Bandits, drugs, they are in other places than just Marseille. I don't want to be associated with this series."

Faced with the controversy, Netflix decided to pull all advertisements inside the ground promoting the show featuring French actor Gerard Depardieu.

The 69-year-old, who plays the city's mayor in the series, had been expected to take part in a ceremonial kick-off before the match, but those plans were also shelved due to fears over a negative crowd reaction.