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Trainwreck: Woodstock 99: Why People Are Criticising The Controversial Netflix Documentary


TW: This article contains discussions of rape and sexual assault. 

If you have a Netflix account, you’ve likely watched – or at least heard of – Trainwreck: Woodstock 99, AKA the latest scandalous documentary to hit the streaming site, which charts the downfall of one of the most catastrophic festivals of all time. 

As Trainwreck: Woodstock 99, which is split into three episodes, shows, the event organisers failed to account for the festival goers’ basic safety and sanitation, ultimately culminating in the festival’s infrastructure being torched and – as it later emerged – women being groped, sexually assaulted, and raped. 

In the weeks after the festival, multiple rape allegations came to light. The Washington Post reported that a festival volunteer named David Schneider witnessed assaults against at least five women. 

While the Netflix documentary does mention the assaults, many viewers have pointed out that the subject isn’t treated with an appropriate level of sensitivity and respect. 

Addressing the incidents of rape and sexual assault, the event’s promoter, John Scher appeared to victim-blame women who were assaulted by insinuating that it was their fault for having their tops off: 

“There were a lot of women who voluntarily had their tops off. Then you get into a mosh pit and you crowd surf. Could somebody have touched their breasts? Yes, I’m sure they did. What could I have done about it? I’m not sure I could have done anything.” 

He then appeared to rationalise the incidents of rape, saying, “Woodstock was like a small city, you know? All things considered, I’d say that there would probably be as many or more rapes in any sized city of that… but it wasn’t anything that gained enough momentum so that it caused any on-site issues, other than, of course, the women it happened to.”

Naturally, viewers were quick to call out this disparaging attitude, with one tweeting, “watched the whole Netflix Woodstock 99 doc & I gotta say, the most despicable part of it all was organizer John Scher downplaying literal rape by saying “well, there was 250,000 people there and I bet it was less rapes than occur in a city with that size population” like wtf.”

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