Nicole Byer calls out Netflix for editing her out of ‘Nailed It!’ thumbnail

Corey, who used to write with us, got me into Nailed It! on Netflix and I binged the first two seasons. I’ve seen about three episodes of the third season, which came out recently. It’s a baking show where they pick the most inept bakers to make complicated things, with really hilarious results. Comic Nicole Byer is the lead judge and she’s accompanied by French pastry chef Jacques Torres. They have a new guest judge in every episode, often someone I’ve never heard of like a YouTube personality or a comic. Nicole is absolutely the star, she’s funny and can veer goofy depending on who the guest judge is. She keeps it interesting with jokes, but the nice thing is that the judges always give people credit for trying and aren’t mean at all.

Anyway a Twitter user found a thumbnail on Netflix for the show, it’s unclear which platform he was using, featuring Torres and the assistant director, Wes, who just comes on at the end in goofy costumes to hand out the trophy. The tweet has since been deleted, but he called out Netflix for leaving Byer out of the thumbnail. She responded by saying that she was grateful for the show but that it could be considered whitewashing and that black women are used to it. She’s since deleted that response too, writing that Netflix explained how the thumbnails are chosen and have fixed it. That’s cool. Here’s this story from E!.

A Twitter user named @dylsauce tweeted an image of a Netflix thumbnail for the hit baking show and made some comments about the people in the photo. dylsauce wrote, “i remember reading somewhere that @netflix puts men on the thumbnails of shows and movies a lot, but yo – this is NUTS. @nicolebyer IS NAILED IT. I love wes and chef jacques but COME ON – this is so upsetting.”

In one of her first now-deleted tweets, [Byer] wrote, “If Netflix didn’t sign my checks and give me a huge platform and opportunity to showcase my comedy. I would talk about how f–ked up and disrespectful this is to me a black woman. Also how black women are a lot of times erased from many different conversations.”

The comedian wrote in a subsequent tweet, “I would talk about how it makes me know my true value as the host of the show where I work incredibly hard to elevate the material given to me. Lot of moments people love are improvised.”

She continued, “I would talk about how this essentially white washing for more views. But they sign my checks and I’m honestly so happy and greatful [sic] to and for the show and no sarcasm I love my job and wish to keep it so I’ll be quiet.”

Her last note read, “To be clear. I know there are thumbnails with and without my face… This one just seems for lack of a better word deliberate. Again I love my job.”

Not long after deleting all of her tweets about this, the 32-year-old clarified her comments and shared that she spoke about the thumbnail situation with Netflix.

“I deleted my last set of tweets bc I talked to one the execs on my show about it and the thrilling conclusion is the removal of the image and a conversation about how the thumbnails are made and selected that I’m happy with,” she wrote.

The original tweet has also been deleted. The initial Twitter user replied to Byer’s most recent tweet, “I’m glad it came to a good resolution! I’ll delete the original tweet. thank you for all your hilarious work and keep up the great work!”

[From E! via Dlisted]

E! has more with background from a 2016 article on how Netflix chooses thumbnails. So it may have been a “mistake” but one they hopefully learned from. I’m glad it worked out ok for everyone and I like how outspoken Nicole was about it. Not everyone can do that and she may have faced consequences for it. Also this got more publicity for this show for Nailed It!, which is the kind of silly filler show you need after watching something heavy. We used it as a palette cleanser after watching Chernobyl recently, and it hit the spot. The only problem is that even though the desserts look awful I still want cake after watching it.

Here’s a screenshot of that tweet, via E!




Photos credit: Adam Rose/Netflix press

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

12 Responses to “Nicole Byer calls out Netflix for editing her out of ‘Nailed It!’ thumbnail”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Scal says:

    She and Jacques are fantastic on nailed it. Their chemistry with each other is a big part of the shows success.

    My only issue with the show is that they clearly set these people up to fail. They give them time limits that would be impossible for professional chefs let alone home cooks. 90 minutes to make eclairs from scratch, let cool, fill, and decorate with a sculpture? 2 hours to bake 6-7 tiers, make buttercream, roll fondant, and sculpt a head and decorate? There’s no way.

    • Swack says:

      I stopped watching it because it seems they are picking the worse of the home cooks. I totally agree that they are set up to fail. Also, they do not have these recipes in their heads like professional cooks do, so must read from the recipe. That takes time and if you are not used to doing so, it can slow you down that much more. I did enjoy the first couple seasons.

  2. Megan says:

    It’s 2019 and we are still erasing black women. I just want to scream.

    • Mash says:

      girl… black issues esp black women right /things are the FURTHEST on the establishment’s list of concerns….

      Society are quick to rally on other causes but looks like they are great at the MO of erasing YET ANOTHER black woman….

  3. aiobhan targaryen says:

    I am glad that this was cleared up. I am also glad that she spoke up for herself and most people supported her without it devolving into a place it did not need to go.

    I love this show so much. She and Jacq are so good together.

    She is a breathe of fresh air and he is so sweet and .. French. I went into one of his chocolate shops in NY a few years ago. That place smelled heavenly but was too expensive for my broke behind at the time. i am determined to go back.

  4. Erinn says:

    Nicole is the best part of that show, hands down.

    While Wes is hilarious in his role, it makes no sense for her not to be in the thumbnail if he is. He’s only on screen for about 1-2 minutes total every episode lol.

  5. Lucy2 says:

    I can’t believe anyone thought this was a good idea, it clearly should be her alone, or her and Jacques. But I wish I could say I’m surprised.

    I love the show, it’s silly and fun, even if they set it up to be disastrous.

  6. Lindy says:

    She is such a delight to watch. I love her! I’ve only ever seen this show playing on the televisions when I get a pedicure (so… Not as often as I’d like, lol!) but they always have it on and she’s so funny. I’m glad she spoke up for herself, but it sucks that in 2019 black women are still getting this kind of bullshit!t whitewashing.

  7. Jenn says:

    Here’s the thing: Netflix’s thumbnails are created using an algorithm. Thumbnails are customized and tailored according to the individual user’s viewing history. Sometimes a thumbnail highlights, not even one of the stars, but a minor character, if it’s played by an actor Netflix is pretty sure you like.

    The problem arises when algorithms, which tend to be programmed by cisgender hetero White men, reflect the biases and prejudices of their architects. Because the average techbro isn’t as concerned about the erasure of Black women, he’s neglected to safeguard against the literal erasure of the starring WOC in the thumbnail. A few more lines of code could probably prevent this from happening, but it won’t happen, because it isn’t a priority for the tech team. (Or, a more cynical take: “The algorithm is working exactly as intended.”)

    The tech team probably works separately from the execs — it’s Netflix the Streaming Service vs Netflix the Production Company, and both groups surely strive to keep from interfering with each other — so it’s true that the people who pay Nicole Byer *technically* had nothing to do with this.

    I love Nicole Byer. Netflix should take care to treat her well, because she’s a very likable comedic actor who could easily go do something else if she wanted.

    • North of Boston says:

      Yeah I’ve heard the Netflix thumbnail algorithm does strange things. Like if people watch a lot of shows featuring POC, they see a lot of thumbnails featuring POC, even if those actors might be guest stars who are featured in one episode.

      The “science” of thumbnails is fascinating…but also troubling, depending on *who* is doing the filtering/selection. The system seems quite vulnerable to bias.

      Some info on how they select the thumbnails is here:

  8. Freeanna says:

    I forced myself to watch a couple of episodes because a friend insisted I’d like it. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why she thought I would because I don’t get how anyone likes it. Watching people ineptly decorate cakes? Nope just don’t get it and this host was the painful screeching icing on the badly made cake. I found her excruciating to watch and especially to listen to. She confused being loud for having a personality. I would be amazed that it’s managed to get to 3 seasons but plenty of crappy shows have been even more successful and clearly I’m in the minority here as to the host’s talent