‘Bridgerton’: The Controversial Scene That the Series Keeps From The Book, Which Some People are Deeming as Non-Consensual Sex
Netflix‘s Bridgerton, the first scripted series to come out of mega-producer Shonda Rhimes’ huge overall deal with the streaming giant, has finally premiered on Netflix. The first season of the show follows “the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market.”
While the series is garnering a lot of positive reactions for being sort of like Downton Abbey-meets-Scandal it has received some backlash for one scene in particular, which is kept from the Bridgerton book series by Julia Quinn.
[Spoiler alert for the first season of Netflix’s Bridgerton]
Some viewers are taking issue with a particular scene
Over the course of the season, Simon (Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) begin sleeping together. However, Daphne does not know much about how sex works or how children are conceived. So, when Simon says that he cannot have children, Daphne doesn’t really question why. However, she soon learns how children are conceived and realizes that Simon has purposefully not wanted to have children during sex. She feels betrayed and makes a plan to get him back the next time they sleep together.
She clings on to Simon while they are having sex, preventing him from removing himself from her at climax. It is confirmed for her in this moment that Simon has not wanted children and he comes forward with why he hasn’t wanted children because of his father.
Some fans have been critical of the scene
Especially since consent is a major theme in Bridgerton, a lot of fans have taken issue with these scene, which a lot of people are calling non-consensual. Some are even going as far as to call it sexual assault. This moment is in the Bridgerton book series and was kept for the television adaptation.
“It doesn’t matter what he did or did not reveal to her or why, but that he had never finished in her previously, clearly establishing a pattern that he did not wish to do so,” said one viewer on Reddit. He did not consent to that. Even if he were sterile, it is still not ok – he still clearly had something against it.”
In a thread about the book series (before the television show was released), another Reddit user said, “I don’t mind dubious consent in romance novels, especially historicals, but making someone have a child against his or her will is one of the most disgusting acts I can imagine. Think of the fate of that poor child if the forced partner never comes around and ends up loathing both the other partner and the child.”
What the showrunner says about this scene
In an interview, the showrunner of the series, Chris Van Dusen, spoke about concerns that were raised about including this moment in the series.
“We had a lot of conversations around that specific incident in the book,” Van Dusen told Entertainment Weekly. “I’ve always called this first season of the show, if it had a subtitle, it would be, ‘The Education of Daphne Bridgerton.’ That incident really goes along with that overall — that overarching theme that she starts out as this picture-perfect, wide-eyed, innocent debutante. And we watch her grow into this woman who gets to shed all of the constraints society has held her to, and she finally figures out who she really is and what she’s capable of.”
Van Dusen says that this moment is “a part of her [Daphne’s] journey” and that the writers did “discuss it a lot as far as how to approach it and how to handle it.”
Bridgerton‘s first season is currently streaming on Netflix.