Byron Bay musician Billy Otto has joined in those opposing the production of Netflix’s new reality series Byron Baes.
The Newcastle-raised singer took to social media to distance himself from the programme after rumours circulated that he’d be a part of the cast.
“[The] rumours aren’t true, and I won’t be appearing on your Byron Baes TV show,” Otto wrote in a lengthy statement.
“I’m not anti-Netflix, and I’m not anti-influencer, I just don’t believe that your show is a true representation of the soul of Byron. This program doesn’t align with my values – and the local Indigenous Elders and long standing community do not give their blessing for you to host this series.”
Otto revealed that he was asked if he would be interested in joining the show by a “media representative” who complimented him on his story and his music. However, Otto said he “began to understand later the true nature of the program”.
“I don’t consider myself a Byron local, I don’t consider myself a ‘hot Instagrammer’, and I don’t believe that the world needs a show like this right now,” he said.
“I’m a Surfrider foundation ambassador and I want to help preserve the local ecology here in the shire. And I’m not stoked about the heightening hyper-gentrification that would occur from a program of this nature.”
Wanting to “hold his integrity”, Otto concluded, “I’m interested in contributing to things that bolster community and a deeper connection to country.
“I would honestly love to see a platform like Netflix making a film series about the real stories of Byron, working alongside Bundjalung Elders and capturing the dreamers, creatives and custodians that help make this place special.”
Locals have protested the show since it was announced earlier this year, with surfers taking to the ocean in April to participate in a ‘protest paddle’.
Various politicians, including Mayor Simon Richardson and Byron Shire Council’s Greens Deputy Mayor Sarah Ndiaye, have all expressed their disapproval of the series.